The family when Nancy soloed the Taylorcraft … and fifty years later still flying!

March 22, 2016

Gordon and I are watching a spectacular sunrise following a sweet rain that poured steadily through the night. Mists are rising from the valleys and white and grey clouds are scudding across the sky, illumined by the rising sun.

With his deep voice, he comments how this would be a great morning to fly, and begins to recite the first lines of the famous poem, ‘I have slipped the surly bonds of earth and danced on laughter’s spangled skies….”

The memories flood in of our years of flying together.. of our first plane, a Taylorcraft with broad wings, as close to a glider as a plane can get, a sweet and honest airplane, simple and unadorned. We both loved to fly this plane and it required skill. The 65 horse aircraft was a two seater, side by side, and we often made ‘go arounds’ for landing, taking turns trading the controls back and forth with practiced ease.

“You and I together,” he mused, “ caressing the sky with our wings, feeling the lift and solidity
of the air under them, under us, yet it was so insubstantial, too.” His voice trailed off. Then with warm light in his eyes, he continued, “What we did was sheer poetry – poetry in motion, feeling for the validity of the air beneath our wings….yet so delicate… testing the buoyancy of the air, easing down on final to land, making the translation with the touch of our finger tips, the delicacy of that touch in creating the interface between sky and earth, “Hold it off, hold it off, hold it off!” till the magic moment of touchdown,when flying is ended and the ground run on solid earth begins. He smiled, “It was poetry, it was sublime.”

The caress, the delicacy, the interface, the sublime and wondrous translation… and the joy.

The thoughts are poignant ones. The skills to fly are now past for us and not too long from now we will be making the transition,the translation, the delicate testing of how we are moving
forward into the unknown, leaving the firmness of the ground (and the body) to slip back again into new flight, into the light and air of the heavens. God willing to heaven itself! May the memories of a life fully lived be the buoyant, caressing air beneath our wings!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


It is pretty wonderful to be elders living out in the hills of the California Sierras and be able to share New Years with families from China. Eight friends came for an overnight celebration and a fine one it was.  Minfeng and Wiedong are dear to us as their infant daughter, Francisca, won a special place in our hearts in her all too brief life on earth.  She brings us together in the spirit across  cultures and across the world with the love of our children  that unites families everywhere.

We celebrated  Chinese New Years a month early as they brought and prepared the full traditional meal, beef bone  soup and three types of delicious traditional  dumplings. We learned that red is worn for that holiday  to scare of the monster, Niam, who haunts the day and hates fire  crackers (so they are set off in abundance), while grandparents give “lucky money” in red envelopes to the children.   We  danced to beautiful piano music by the young men present, sang ‘Silent Night’ and other songs around the tree with candles lit for loved ones on the other side. Vanessa brought a gift of her art of paper cutting with an original design of red  monkeys for the “Year of the Monkey ” coming up! They brought us delicious Chinese delicacies, including a cookie called “Buddha’s Hand” as it is the strongest possible hand as the Monkey King found out in his arrogance. We learned that story and how Buddhism came to China where it endures despite years of communism.

More warm, unhurried conversation and sharing followed at breakfast on New Year’s Day and Gordon always impresses visitors with our building and his test flying of our airplane.  He taught the enthusiastic teenagers lessons in driving the stick shift pickup and they helped us split and carry in firewood. Seven year old, Ding Ding, can count us his ‘American’ grand parents and he loves to come to the ranch.  So it is, one by one, we begin to know each other and forge the bonds of friendship. We began this New Years Day by reciting together the prayer of St Francis with the beautiful universal thoughts in those words that promote the peace, joy, respect and spirituality that can unite us all. Happy and blessed New Year!



Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 4.35.53 PM

Our son Cameron and his wife Carolyn had two strapping boys, Nathan and Jonas,before adopting their little girl, Marianna. The boys are now wonderful young men, both well over six foot and accomplished classical musicians among their many talents.

Marianna has special “needs” but also brings special “gives”. She came to the family as a precious infant, tender, sensitive, yet distanced and so tenuously connected to herself and everything around her. In eight years she has surmounted many challenges with the patient care of her amazing family.

At school Marianna made the art piece on the wall which says “Love”. You can see it in her beautiful eyes as she is hugging her big brother, Nathan, on his 18th birthday.

And LOVE is what Christmas is all about.
So for this season we share this story of a dear little girl who has created so much love for those in the world around her, and of her family whose selfless unending love has surrounded and nurtured her to do so.

May the spirit of the Holy Child of Christmas touch your lives with loving inspiration in the years to come.

Nancy and Gordon Poer.

The Advent Spiral celebration is a profoundly simple, yet deeply touching winter festival – an inclusive and beautiful community sharing. Advent is the season marking the days before the ‘birth of the light’, a soul awareness of the rhythm of the year that applies to the Winter Solstice as well as to birth of the holy Christmas Child. After the winter solstice the longest night of the year has passed and the turning point has come when the sun will take its ascending celestial reign in our universe again (for the Northern hemisphere).

In the ritual of the Advent spiral, a path to the central candle is marked with branches of fragrant evergreens. The traveler to the light, be it child or adult,carries a candle, often held in an apple, a symbol of life and knowledge, and transformation to a higher consciousness.

In darkness, in silence, and then surrounded by gentle lyre, string or flute music, the journey to the light begins. The seeker steps out on the journey to perform the deed of lighting one’s own candle. The flame that rises, never before lit by that hand in just that unrepeatable moment in time, will be a sweet and new flickering of light to shine out in the surrounding darkness. It can be seen an outer representation of the inner fire of one’s own spirit, and the spiral path as the journey of the soul in growing inner awareness. Then the seeker turns back, reverses direction on the path and the treasure of light is carried spiraling back outward from the Source of light. There it is given away, placed on the sweet scented greens, a picture of giving one’s own unique gift to the swirling spiral of life.

With each individual candle laid on the path of the spiral becomes ever more luminous. The wonder of the ritual builds slowly until everyone’s candles are there shining brightly and harmoniously together. The darkened room becomes filled with the flowing light and warmth that a community of souls can create together. Wondrous!

The power of this simple universal community festival was the genesis moment in bringing a most beautiful healing impulse into the world. The compassionate exemplary work of the Camphill movement, an international movement arising from the humanitarian ideals of Rudolf Steiner, is dedicated to serving those individuals with special needs. It has been a profound inspiration for the curative work of our age.

In the 1920’s, a young Viennese born doctor, Karl Koenig, was spiritually awakened by this winter Advent celebration and the timeless archetypal truth within it. He was a brilliant and precocious Jewish boy who, on his own as a young child, found his way to the New Testament and was always impelled to serve those in need. He read, and was impressed by Steiner’s work, but did not get to meet him in his lifetime. Karl Koenig was an unusually short man, but great in bearing; a high sweeping brow, deep set, intense eyes filled with world wisdom and world pain, and the firmest mouth, evidencing a powerful will and unwavering dedication to fostering societal awareness of the deeper spiritual humanity of every individual.

He was invited by Dr. Ita Wegman, a co-worker of Rudolf Steiner who had begun a clinic for handicapped children in Arlesheim, Switzerland, to come and join her. One of Koenig’s first impressions was attending the Christmas Advent ceremony at the clinic. The children (regarded as feeble, inferior, and incompetent by many) came, some limping, hobbling, wide eyed, innocent and receptive, and walked (or were assisted) into the spiral to the light. There in this magical setting the holy quickening for them became apparent.

Their wonder-filled shining eyes, if only a flickering moment, reflected an enhanced knowing their own timeless inner light, the imperishable spiritual individuality that is our highest humanity. They knew they were supported and recognized by the loving souls around them. Dr. Koenig describes the impact of this experience in these words:

“In this hour the decision was taken that I would dedicate my life to the care and education of these children. It was a promise I gave to myself, to build a hill upon which a big candle was to burn so that many infirm, handicapped children would be able to find their way to this beacon of hope, and to light their own candles so that every single flame would be able to radiate and shine forth.” He spoke of this light as the ‘holy of holies’ of the human spirit.

Koenig and his co workers would individually escape Austria just as the Nazis occupied the country, but in parting made the promise they would later meet up to work together. They did so in Scotland and there the Camphill movement was born, with the dedicated workers eventually taking the impulse for compassionate curative work all over the world.

For each of us, we can ask will be be born of our experiences in this winter’s night – in this mighty season of birth? What will be born for each of us out of the womb of winter’s darkness, out of the womb of our own seeking soul, out of the longing for wholeness and connectedness?

For ready or not, we will birth something! Will it be cynical and careless excesses, despair, wizened disappointed loneliness, or the wonder we can become gently and greatly loving despite our handicaps through the cosmic outpouring of Love that is there for us? Can we take heart, that like Dicken’s immortal tale of Scrooge, the miser’s icy heart can experience awe inspiring transformation and become the warmed and vibrant source of the joyful largesses that followed when Scrooge found his true spirit?

The pain of our present day loneliness is for awakening – the awakening is to make a choice – and how blessed it is if the choice be for the loving embrace of the all accepting Holy Mother, the benevolence of the Father, and a heart made radiant and open to all the world through the unceasingly and timeless gifts of Love from the Holy Christmas child. And Joy…oh, yes, JOY!  May we rise up singing the grand old song, “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine!”

Nancy Jewel Poer,
Winter Solstice, 2015


What a wonderful gathering we had for Thanksgiving here at White Feather Ranch this year.  Our International events, often an ‘American first’ for many visitors, are such a fulfillment for us and happily we were both up to it and Gordon led the Virginia Reel as I played and we piled 20 on the old truck for a ride with Grandpa driving over the ranch to the delight of all.

We gave thanks that here we were people of the world coming together while in so many parts of our dear suffering world people are being driven apart.  A guest wrote:  “There is really something magic when a diverse group of people comes together to celebrate life!”   Indeed it was magical and blessed, all ages, ethnic food of all kinds, singing, giving poetry and music as we shared the lovely talents among us.. and dancing…  Fun and joy for one and all.  We are looking for ways to pass these thirty years of community work on to the next generation as we look toward grace 2015IMG_1058IMG_1082

white feather thanksgiving 2015
friends from all over the world, many from China, others from Denmark, Scotland, Canada, England, and New Zealand – fifty in all
sharing song and laughter
IMG_1116 (1)
grandpa gordon and anara and calendula
virginia reel, 2015 thanksgiving
grandma and the accordion

the future of White Feather Ranch.  Ideas welcomed!




Michaelmas Joy and Celebration!
Twenty six years ago I was the founding teacher for Cedar Springs Waldorf School which began here at White Feather Ranch on Michaelmas Day, September 29,2989.   The next year I wrote the Michaelmas play that has been performed every year at the school for 25 years! It now includes four of the grades and the children are just wonderful.

Each year I give my art prints of the Michael-Child to the second grade that will be the brave knights to fight the dragon ( made by the 6th grade) and tell them how with kind thoughts and good deeds they can ride their winged horse over the abyss, conquer the dragon and follow St. Micha-el way of golden light. Here is this year’s 2nd grade and the fine young lad playing Micha-el, Cadence, told me, “This is a mighty picture and you are too.” How heart warming!
A verse/song from the play.


IMG_7971 (1)


Micha-el is the archangel of our age standing behind individuals of initiative who do courageous deeds of love
and good will in the world. Holding up his sword of light, fiery strong with meteoric iron of the sun and stars,
he challenges us to lift up our thoughts to UNIVERSAL SPIRITUAL TRUTH beyond all that divides us:
nation, race, language, gender, age, and politics and work together for the future of humanity.

Micha-el is the archangel of Freedom leaving us free to choose the gift of his power (without and within us)
to conquer the dragon of fear, hatred, apathy,intolerance, ignorance, egotism, and our lower bestiality so that our true higher nature triumphs.…

The archangel Michael is celebrated in all major religions and we do so in Waldorf schools to honor heroic
strength for our lives and give young people the confidence that the light overcomes the darkness.
Strength to you friends for Michaelmas Day, September 29th, 2015. Go Micha-el!