ACTIVE RETIREMENT LIVING – MADELINE HILL & FRIENDS–by Madeline- Recently some neighbors here at Mountain Meadows (MM) hosted a screening in our Clubhouse of Dot: An Ordinary Life, an Extraordinary Person, a fine short documentary film about Ashland resident Dot Fisher-Smith. They invited Dot to come to dinner in our Dining Room, see our Hilltop Gallery, and stay for the film and some Q&As–and to their delight she accepted. A lifelong activist for social justice and environmental protection, Dot Fisher-Smith is a Buddhist, artist and poet. Now in her eighties, she rides her bicycle all over Ashland and that’s how she and her husband John, an architect and poet, arrived at our Clubhouse.
Dot and I have both been active in Ashland community life for many years, yet somehow had never actually crossed paths. Not, that is, until I founded MM, and three film fans moved here (from Virginia, Maine and Louisiana, respectively) and introduced us! Here’s a photo my husband, Hunter, took as Dot and I finally got to know each other. It felt like a reunion somehow. Dot confessed to us that she’s always had reservations about living in a senior community, because her friends tend to be younger than she – but as it turned out, in the audience of MM residents were several people she knew. They are active in her causes too; she just didn’t know they lived here.
In preparing some publicity for the event, one of my neighbors came across the Internet video linked here.The interviewer comments that “some seniors come [to the Rogue Valley] not to relax, but to transform into Elders.” I like that! Dot quotes a favorite poem called “The Way It Is” by William Stafford, Oregon poet laureate. It asserts that throughout life, “There’s a thread you follow.” By the time we become Elders, we can look back and find that thread, and see that it took us… here