Dandelions and dew drops. Springtime leaves and the long grass glisten, in countless shades of jade, and silver. All around me, fractal patterns of water and light, as clouds of steam condense, rise, and tumble, in the valley below.
In early May this year, Mike and I had the opportunity to briefly visit Aurora Community, a burgeoning, and international, intentional community, hidden deep in the Romanian Carpathian Mountains, an hour’s drive, and then an hour’s hike, out of the closest town, Hunedoara.
To get to Aurora is an adventure in itself. The only road that could have taken us directly to the community had recently been destroyed, thanks to a combination of sticky, deep mud, and an over-enthusiastically driven 4×4. Resultingly, as instructed, we drove the twisting, oak-lined roads into the mountains, we parked our van next to the large van, with portugese plates, that we had been assured would be there, and hiked, from that point, up into the hills.
The hike was shady, and steep, our path lined with the tiny white petalled promises of wild strawberries.
We crossed trickling streams, tiny wooden bridges, and passed a couple of stone farmhouses, with their numerous barking dogs, chickens, and friendly inhabitants. We followed the painted mandalas and fluttering ribbons that would appear, from time to time, tied to trees or attached to wooden posts.
The hike took an hour, altogether, and carrying our camping gear, was a little challenging – but invigorating, and beautiful.
Eventually, we emerged out of the dense forest, with it’s canopy of sparkling green leaves, and found an old, converted farmhouse, surrounded by a number of smaller buildings, the centre-point of Aurora Community.
As it turned out, we had arrived at Aurora at a particularly special time. What usually is a community of about five, was currently home to perhaps twenty people, the participants of a two week permaculture design course that had just begun a few days previously, and which we would have the chance to observe and photograph, for a couple of days.
Over the course of the next two days, we participated in workshops, observed practical demonstrations of permaculture gardening and design, as around us the air buzzed with the high hum of infinite insects and bumblebees.
We watched documentaries in the evening, in the community room, whilst incense rose in the air around us, in mysterious, momentary, patterns.
We ate delicious meals in the outdoors kitchen, dandelion raw noodle salads, home-baked bread made in the bakery, couscous and organic vegetables, huge steaming jugs of herbal teas.
Springtime had arrived at the community in all it’s brilliance, and was just beginning to hint at the wild potential of the coming summer.
The last night of our stay, we lit a campfire, and as twilight descended, and the sky grew heavy, the sound of drums filled our ears, and we snacked on dates and nuts as hundreds of what seemed like moths, but were larger, and to me, nameless, took flight. At dawn, we awoke to thunderstorms.
Aurora Community is blossoming, diverse, and just at the start of a very exciting journey. Through their practices of sustainability, permaculture, meditation and non-violence, they are moving forward in their vision – I look forward to seeing what comes next.
Here’s a link to Aurora’s website!
And a link to our flickr set from our stay.