News and Articles

These three articles were written by Neil in 2004 and are included here to give readers and guests further insight into foundational thoughts behind the establishment of Hidden Springs Retreat and Guest House.


DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and work with your hands."
1 Thessalonians 4:11


    Way back in 1975 our wedding was a Woodstock-style affair with a two-tiered (organically-grown) carrot cake amid gifts wrapped only in newsprint by our request. For all our biodegradable communal living, heterosexual marriage for life was still an unquestioned ideal. With God on our side, nuptial bliss made us feel like we could change the world.
    Our honeymoon night was a suitably earthy affair involving a low-budget stay in a friend's geodesic dome nestled remotely in the country aspen. The place had been named "Norbuck Diamond Mines"; a muse on the effect made by several crystal-shaped windows in the dome's multi-angled roof.
    The next morning we donned our unisex wedding gear, buckled on our two-bit sandals and headed out in a Cortina we called 'If' to shoot wedding pictures and launch Day Two of a three-day celebration. It had rained during the wee hours. Lots. We were on a roll but 'If' wasn't. He just sat on the slight incline of a greasy county road in the ironic morning sun and spat mud up my front while Barbara coaxed the gearbox with stunning ineffectiveness. Don't even try pushing a bogged down car in your bare feet. But you can thank God for long-in-the-tooth farmers with towropes.
    I don't remember if the mud caked on my attire and congealed between my toes before we found a suitable scrub-down zone. But we do have pics to prove we presented ourselves respectable to the naked lens by mid-morning, any hint of foolhardy planning washed down some unsuspecting drain.
    Those first hours of mishap matrimony modeled elements that would characterize much of our first 25 years together. Later, during the spring that we finally felt ready for sheep we'd neglected to cover all the bases and contracted footrot in the flock; a battle we won only after months of tending a miserable formaldehyde footbath. The brilliant scheme of farming with horses ended after only one year and a runaway bundle wagon. And our dreamy notions of creating an alternate society where possessions were held in common ruptured years later from the inside out.
    Yet for all the 'Green Acres'-style tomfoolery a little light shone undaunted: the 'wing nut' frequency rate diminished. We were slowly weaned off ideas that lacked staying power. Notions of a transformed society always pointed first to a changed heart. It became not 'God on our side' but 'we chose to be on his' or even more so, 'He has welcomed us to join Him'.
    They say that newly discovered diamonds are nothing much to look at. But we all know the beauty that can emerge as the original form yields its inner qualities to skillful work. Hearts are like that; diamonds in the rough. The raw product contains a hint of the divine. And so the material undergoes the forming work of the stonesmith. When he is done light playfully dances in unguessable directions with quiet precision. May our lives so shine.

Neil White

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