Many of us – if not all – develop a longing urge to stop what we are doing in our life and run away to start anew. We dream of a life that is pure and free of corruption; a life of unbridled possibility. Author Roberta Price had accomplished her escape of the professed “societal norm” and create a new life in the Huerfano Valley of Colorado, living off the landscape with her partner and other like-minded people in a counter-cultured commune in the early 1970s. Price recalls seven plus years of experiences of living in a Mid-West commune in her book Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture and discusses her motivation and counter-culture life.
Before gathering up the courage to uproot her ordinary life for something more exciting and revolutionary, Price was a recent Vassar graduate teaching journal writing to freshmen at the University of Buffalo, New York. She secured a grant from SUNY Buffalo to travel west, with her partner David to study and photograph some of these New Age communities that have begun cropping up around the country: Drop City, New Buffalo, Reality Construction Company, Morning Star, and the Lama Foundation. But, the one they fell in love with was Libre, a scattering of geodesic domes, zomes, adobes, and log cabins in the Huerfano. With her drive to find something new, Price brings new experiences and thought provoking ideas together with the themes of individuality, community and revolution.
The timeline of Huerfano spans seven years starting in 1970. Years filled with love and excitement, explorations and hardships, and acceptance and rejection. The 1970s were portrayed as a “pivot of change” in world history with heavy regards to the economic upheavals but Price brings sight to more than just the change in economics. The scope of Price’s memoir touches on other aspects of the 1970s, the hippie movement and dashes of the Vietnam War but focuses on the drive to live outside of society and develop a new classification for individuality. Price organizes her recalled experiences and stories in a very straight mannered chronological order starting with her and David’s trip out West studying the New Age communes all the way to present day, 2004 where she currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico practicing law. The motivation that drove Price and her partner David to live in a commune was a combination of many influences. Both Price and David agreed with aspects of the Hippie Revolution and were against the Vietnam War, they even partook in some rallies. What they were most interested in was becoming part of the “vanguard” and live with the landscape and to create a new life free of governmental influences.
Price doesn’t praise commune life or glaze over the hard parts. Daily life on the ridge, as explained by Price was both rewarding, pleasurable and challenging. When Price and David first arrived at Libre, their new home for the next seven years, they were taken aback by the beauty and simplicity of...