After stepping, and stepping, and stepping again through the many hoops leading up to a conventional mortgage, it was finally go time.  With a rush of excitement we’d held and harbored for years, we submitted the hefty block of documents to our loan officer Chad, a banker who through no small volume of interaction was beginning to feel like maybe he was an extended or perhaps honorary MLP member. Hoping that this notarized, itemized, scrutinized assembly of tax assessments, easement documents, personal financials, construction costs, site plans, house plans, etc. would be the last hoop before some serious building, we all exhaled and began the wait.

As it turns out, the Sacred Hoop—the one that holds all the others—has a different plan altogether.

The bank did respond with a loan offer. But the amount was for far below what we requested to cover construction. Our journey to fund the project had reached, not quite a dead end, but at least the end of the pavement.

The path of the Mesa Life Project, we keep learning, is not to be found in the usual, well-worn places. Instead, it’s the one we all make by walking it.

In sometimes quite emotionally charged ways, what we keep being directed to again and again is… well, community. What about a conventional bank loan says “community?’

Not much, it turns out. In fact, securing the necessary capital by getting one lump sum from the bank effectively allows us to do an end run around community. Who needs community when you’ve got Quicken Loans and Rocket Mortgages?

Even if we consider that the bank gets its money from “the community,” it’s a faceless community at best. The loan offer we received mentioned nary a name of those whose capital was funding the bank’s dealings and doings.

Which brings us back to the faded trail, the community path overgrown with civilized individualism and institutionalized exchange—but still discernible to the hungry tracker’s eye.

This path, we continue to recognize, reveals how each step we take depends on the willingness, the generosity, the providential love of an entire ecology of Sacred Others.  From the weather beings, to the plant and animal peoples, to the living waters, sacred fire, and ancient earth, and finally, of course, to the human peoples—we live off the beneficence of untold elders, patrons, and protectors.

What seems divined, then, by this apparent obstacle is that the gods will ordain no move we make that does not itself embody, invite or promote community. Indeed, far from some heroic, creating “ex nihilo”—out of nothing—the vocation of community-building may be to keep humbly remembering, and returning, again and again, to the inherently cooperative fabric of the web of life. Maybe the only path to a viable future is simply to love, honor, and deepen, with each step, the ragged but resilient connections that still comprise the ancient, and enduring, living world.

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