May 15, 2009

The Wandering Yogi’s Search for Conscious Culture: Fairfax, California

Wandering Yogi.

I’ve stumbled into a small town tucked in the hills north of San Francisco. Liberal and quaint, the location of Fairfax is perfect: far enough from the Ocean to keep the tourist factor down, and far enough from the highway to keep the traffic light. The backdrop is lush, rolling green hills embedded with trail systems, and the two-street town is full-on organic consciousness, with an organic Indian restaurant, organic Mexican restaurant, and an organic drycleaners – all centered around a hopping locally-owned health food store named Good Earth. While I am let down that the store does not offer purified water, I am pleasantly surprised by a large selection of dried seaweed in the bulk section. The town also hosts a native world-music instrument store called Tribal Rhythm, a beautiful yoga studio named Yoga Mountain, and many cozy coffee shops and live music venues.

As a wandering yogi, I’m on a Dharma Bums trip with no destination and no time constraints, the modern day vision quest. The hills above Fairfax give me the most amazing views each night as I set up my squatting camp – tent goes up after dark and torn down before sunrise to avoid unnecessary confrontation. I enjoy the sunrise with QiGong practice and mantra repetition. Daily chores include drying my dew-covered tent in the sunshine, copying Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras into my journal so I can give away the book (and its weight), and mingling with like-minded peoples. Yesterday, I came across some gardening work for a local landscaper I met on the street, preparing a flower bed in the center of town. I’m living on goji berries, raw cacao, and barley grass juice. It seems the culture here is steeped in raw foodism, and I greatly appreciate that. 

I’m on this journey in search of organic farms, spiritual music, and liberal culture. Although I love it here in Fairfax, I may be  a bit too young for the scene. It feels slightly suburban, dominated by parents, teens, and old money. I’ve got some hints on where people my age, 28, can be found, and I’ll be continuing my journey tomorrow, south to the college town of Santa Cruz, Saint’s Crossing. Once I find my spot, I’ll put in roots for the spring and summer seasons.

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