At the memorial celebration for Ruth Bason, held at the Floyd Eco-Village, we changed the words to John Denver’s song and sang it like a Floyd anthem. Life passage ceremonialist Katherine Chantal gave words to what everyone in the room knew: Ruth has been at the top of the list for Floyd legends for over four decades.
A Zion church chorus member, horse riding teacher, Blue Mountain School teacher, spiritual seeker and one-of-a-kind meditation dancer, Ruth moved from Raleigh, NC, to Floyd with her children in 1972 and founded Travianna Farm, one of Floyd’s first communes.
“Ruth was the heart of Travianna, the center – often not seen and often maybe a little off-center – that everyone constellated around,” said Katherine, who is also a long time member of the alter-native Floyd tribe. “Travianna was a portal and Ruth was a doorway. How many came to Floyd through Travianna? How many lived there for a time?” she asked.
Today, the story of Travianna and its matriarch is a mix of truth and the mythological. “Just to realize the enormity of Ruth’s mythic personality begins the journey,” Katherine said. “Myths are stories that offer teachings, lessons, challenges and hardships, bigger than life ideas laced with obscurities, emergences into light with a bit of the unbelievable woven throughout and sprinkled with mystic and mystery. All carry a bit of truth and untruth alike, as we each attached to the parts with which we resonated. A fair description of Ruth, don’t you think?”
It was an old-school gathering, complete with a potluck feast that reminded me of the old Summer Solstice ones that Floyd was famous for. Heartfelt stories were remembered and shared. Ruth’s daughter and a friend sang.
There was light talk of renovating the “big house” at Travianna into a historic hippie landmark, and someone commented that the EcoVillage wouldn’t exist without Ruth (its founders both lived there for a time). A super 8 video of the early days that played to a soundtrack of the music of the time was shown. Ruth’s meditation chair, in which she ultimately rose to practice her signature Tai Chi dance, was front and center. Also present was the testament to her best life contribution, the Bason clan, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, including the newest great grandchild that was born at home a few hours after Ruth died in the same house.
Thank you, Ruth for being your unique self and for touching so many of our lives.