TROUBLES IN PARADISE
1976 finds four members of the original commune, namely Barbara, Frank,
Mary, and Paul, homesteading thirty acres in the beautiful Arkansas Ozark Mountains.
So that Mary, now a midwife, can help deliver their son, Helen and Capo arrive for an
extended visit, thus reuniting the group.
Ever the mystic, Frank is now immersed in a local political struggle
against the aerial spraying of defoliants on the Ozark hardwood forest. Barbara, now
married to Frank, has earned her associate's degree, and is eager to move back to any
city where she might complete her work for a bachelor's. Having struggled for years,
Paul is on the verge of waxing professional: he has just about climbed out of the deep
hole he dug himself into during their wild days in California. Mary divides her time
between supporting her family through nursing, caring for her fledgling midwifery
practice, and mothering her and Paul's daughter, Elizabeth. Cured finally of her injury
from the long-ago student riot, Helen is again involved, working for the ratification
of the Equal Rights Amendment: her chief concern for the moment, of course, is the
impending birth of Kevin. And the incorrigible Capo is still making both music and women.
It is a good thing that the magic and strength of their original
association return quickly to them, because these, too, are pivotal times and the
challenges they face are life-altering. In addition to the questions of interpersonal
relationships, political action, and the search for truth and self, there now arise
even weightier ones regarding ecology, health, and theology.