Sometimes I honk my horn

To my fellow residents,

Sometimes I honk my horn.

Sometimes I honk the horn of my car when driving through neighbourhoods around the time that people eat dinner.

I honk my horn early in the evening, in the last hours of daylight and watch little faces appear in the windows, peering after the sound.

What was it that disturbed their calm existence?

I do this because I recall when I was a child, rushing to the window at the sound of a passing train or horn or a knock at the door. My siblings by my side, we rushed to the window.  The spell of our safe little home was disturbed for a moment and the outside world would flash back into memory.

What was going ON out there anyways!? Four little faces, peering into the night consumed with the question. Side by side we would wonder at the dimming eve.

The spell of that safe place of the side-by-side wonder is the same one we find here at Atangard. We live wrapped in a blanket we have all taken part in weaving a part of. And just like the warmth of the blanket, can we begin to take it all for granted.

Walking through our downtowns streets these nights makes it only too clear how many near here could even use just a blanket let a long one woven by a community founded in sharing the load in love. It’s the moments when our peace is disturbed that can we find the deepest realizations of the bond that we hold between us all.

When the power snaps out, and we emerge from our corners.

When the fire bell rings and we’re thrust into the night

When a housemate is left hanging in a severely weakened state after a night of heavy dancing and could really just benefit from you making a extra omelette for them when you prepare your breakfast,

When the dryer kicks out for two months at the same time the weather turns to fall, and we all must navigate our drying racks and heaters in solidarity on the way to our beds or pilgrim down to the laundromat until the new part for the machine comes in.

We often stand wondering in unison at what has affected us, but the spirit of this place is to be side by side realizing what is is that we have and building the bond that we share.

That’s why I honk my horn.

That’s why I honk the horn of my car when driving through neighbourhoods around the time that people eat dinner.

I honk my horn early in the evening, in the last hours of daylight and watch little faces appear in the windows, peering after the sound because I want to be a part of making those memories, forming those bonds, and giving someone something to remember about. I want to be a part of that and that why I honk my horn, and that’s why I rush out of my room when the power snaps out, and when the dinner bell rings. I honk my horn because

we,

live here.

and others should too.

 

Love,

Mitch

A letter, recited at the Atangard Christmas Party on December 9th, 2018.

The People of Atangard: Beth Humphrey

It was hard for me to feel like a belonged anywhere. I found a dark comfort in loneliness. Slowly I became a stranger to the people closest to me, I stayed in a shell that had become to small for me. When I heard about Atangard I decided it was time for me to try and break out of my shell.

Living at Atangard has brought tremendous change in my life. I started to develop my own world view, and have become more comfortable in what I believe. With the help of my housemates, I have been given the chance to connect with myself. Living here and surrounding myself with these beautiful people has helped me to understand that it is almost impossible to grow when you block the world out.

“We become human only in the company of other human beings.  And this involves both opening our hearts and giving voice to our deepest convictions. When we shrink from the world, our souls shrink, too”. – Paul Rogat Loeb.

The People of Atangard: David Fawcett

There are certain concepts or experiences that language cannot do justice – ‘Love’ and ‘God’ are prime examples. How each of us understands and interacts with these concepts or experiences is subjective and rooted in complex neurological networks making language a somewhat ineffective means of explaining them to others who have different understandings and experiences. In the same way, trying to articulate what Atangard means to me using language feels nearly impossible.

Initially, I find myself drawn to smaller experiences and memories. Atangard is group bike rides and samosas, cooking ridiculous amounts of food twice a month, emptying the dishwasher at the most inconvenient times and being okay with it, and waging war on moth infestations. It is countless conversations exploring the meaning of dreams, learning about our enneagram numbers, and critically examining our own social and environmental impacts. It is three and a half hour feelings meetings filled with tears, joy, and healing, taking part in the daily lives of our housemates, and supporting each other’s personal growth and endeavours.

On a broader level, Atangard is ‘family’ and ‘home’. My housemates have become a part of my family, and some of those bonds will last for the rest of my life. From these connections and this sense of community, an innate sense of home has emerged that reaches beyond the physical structure that houses us for the time being.

However, what Atangard means to me always seems to come back to a passage that I read in Henri Nouwen’s book ‘Reaching Out’ about how the goal of hospitality is creating a ‘friendly emptiness’. From my own experience, the community and hospitality of our community offers the ‘friendly emptiness’ that Nouwen refers to. This emptiness has allowed me a space “where [I] can enter and discover [myself] as created free; free to sing [my] own song, speak [my] own language, dance [my] own dance”.

A Melancholy Love Letter

Hello world,

My name is Casey Kowalchuk, and I’ve been living at the Atangard for almost 2 years.

The film above is made from footage that I captured at our annual directors retreat in April of 2017. I only got around to editing it together last weekend after it started gathering digital dust from 7 months on a hard drive.

For events like the directors retreat, we make it a priority to gather all the residents together in an environment different from our home. I’ve found this helps change the dynamic of our community. This year we rented an Airbnb at Cultus Lake. Everyone came together and memories were made. The context from which those memories bloomed feels melancholy to me now. We can’t always be so intentional with spending quality time together at the house as when we we’re stuck in a cabin together for a weekend. Also, some of our friends in the video haven’t been around for months.

Last Spring seemed very hopeful. Now it is nearing the Christmas season and the mood is different. This last month has been very challenging for most of the current residents, with a near death experience of a housemate, and tough challenges faced by the directors. I’ve been reminded that anything can change drastically at any moment.

Wow, do we ever have it good here at the Atangard. I’m trying my best now to try and enjoy each moment of it and be willing to accept changes as they come.

It’s not healthy to spend a long time in the past, but it feels good to reflect on positive moments in small doses. This video is a flirt with that memory from last April. I hope you like it.

Cheers,

Casey

Bohemian Hotel

Welcome to our clapboard chicken coop
apartment building on Montrose and Essendene
crammed with soothsayers and disavowed nine-to-five
hipster wraiths strumming beats in top floor brick and flannel nests.
Our communal living paradise, conducting priorities
of holistic enterprise, communists if you will,
in that simple Jazz way, contemplating manifestos
that encapsulate renovated crack-shack hotels.
Societal armistice, securing space to dance wild
raving lunacy fueling Joy-induced inebriation.
Cook two meals a month for the housemates.
Do your duty for cleanliness. All hail Atangard, our temple
perched above punk band reverberation, conceding 2AM
to repetitive gong first floor indian banquet zeal
for that weekend breakfast feel and parking lot boxes of kale, freely.

 

A poem by Bradley Peters, pinned to the dining room bulletin board before leaving to Nicaragua for the summer.

Atangard Director’s Retreat

a peculiar feeling
when united by loss

whether outlaw
or wound

we sat around the fire
encircled a play-tower
smoked, sweat
and climbed a hill together

 

“Atangard Director’s Retreat”
by Simon Bridgefoot
Cultus Lake
April, 2017

Ode to Atangard

In heavenly hefts
you carry forth; intoxicating
like a star, who guides strangers into the sky
to become part of a constellation.

When I return, broken hearted,
or covered in the dust of solitude
my heart races, as if
anything less than a million hugs
would greet and feed me soup.

In drawing near to every detail
my eyes are met with life,
like blades of grass in the desert
hinting at a nearby spring—
where windows carved in wall are made
or gardens grown by liquor stores
and splinters in the hardwood floor
—contain the tiny stories
of a wild project aging like fine wine.

My nose recalls a poem
walking down the hallway,
fresh rosemary and cheese
adding adjectives to aroma,
as I am taken by a nostalgia unfit
for such small hands.

Your modalities (wise and true)
and je ne sais quoi,
shake out individuals,
and form them into the next generation,
who will one day leave,
and one day return,
to find a piece of their
hearts stitched in a community
that dazzles and guides so many home.

Dalton Jones

Slow & Steady

Summer has come, which often brings many changes as people transition from school to work or head out tree planting. This summer, however, the change is fairly subdued. Only 2 housemates went planting, and only one new friend is subletting.

Last summer brought a slew of new residents. There is always air of excitement in those new times of discovery. At times the energy and changes can be a bit overwhelming, as your home, the most intimate of places, changes shape. After some months the dust settles and routines emerge.

This summer, though, has been lazy. Relaxing. Many of our housemates have been here for at least a year now. There is a comfort that comes in the consistency, and a subtle security from the depth of having lived together for a substantial amount of time now. 
I told one resident upon moving in, “It takes time to get to know people, and a year for things to really get good.” He didn’t believe me at first. He told me later how he keeps being surprised by people as relationships mature and grow. I’m sure it is also in part, that life changes us too. As housemates we get to journey with people through these exploratory times.

Of course it is not all flowers and roses. Many times we may not feel that connected to one another. But when I take a step back from it all – I realize the beauty of it. I feel privileged to be a part.
Thanks everyone!

5 Year Anniversary

September 1st of 2014 marked our Five Year Anniversary. Many thanks to all who have made this place possible. This blog was started during the development process. It was a forum to share our journey, our thoughts, and our progress on this ‘project.’ What was once a goal, a dream, and a challenge has now transitioned into everyday life – full of the mundane and the beautiful.

Atangard Art Exhibit

We had our first art exhibit this weekend at the Arty Awards. We created a series of abbotsford-centric portraits, and then also displayed some work that we already had up in our halls. It was great to have some motivation to create again. It was also really awesome to see the work that people produced. Looking forward to what the next one will be. Here’s some photos, and the Abby News article.

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