Dean Payne

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Dean Payne


Dean while living at Black Mountain (La Honda Mailing address.)

My story: I was in an encounter group run by Steve Mitchel, who some of you may remember was a psychiatrist who lived at the "Christmas tree farm", Page Mill and Skyline, and owned 7 acres of land with a pond next door and to the north of Black Mountain commune. I was on mental disability at the time and Steve offered to let me stay on his 7 acres and build a tree house if I wanted to. I had just completed a drug program at the Menlo Park V.A. and I was glad to have a quiet place to get away to. I pitched a tent and started building a tree house in a huge oak tree. Meanwhile, I visited "The Land" and made friends with Silver. I also visited Black Mountain because I knew Barbara Martell from when I used to hang in Palo Alto.
I built a tree house but it was not a very good one. I still feel guilty about the big nails I drove into that poor tree. On a stormy night the whole thing would shift and the ceiling would get closer to my face when I was lying in bed. I had a mouse living there with me and I had a brand new high powered pellet gun. One night I was meditating and the little mouse popped his head up from behind something and was looking at me. I slowly picked up the pellet gun and zeroed in on his head. ButI din't really want to shoot him, so I didn't. I went back to meditating with my hands in my lap and the mouse ran over and sat in my hands. Sometimes I would wake up and he would be sitting on my head. Every morning I would have to empty the dry dog food from my shoes as he liked to stash food (yes, I did have a dog). The first winter i was there the tree house started falling down. The mouse moved out. I went over to Black Mountain and asked to live there. The rest is history. I must admit, I never really fit in and I think that is because I really did not know who I was or why I was there or where I was going. I wasn't into saving anything or nurturing the earth or my spiritual growth. Mainly, I just wanted to get laid. I wish I could tell you I have changed (just kidding). I used to run around with the locals from Sky Londa. I also used to run around with the "Hill Monsters" Danny O'Roark and his bunch. Tom Slovick, Glen Whats his name. Danny is dead, long gone and Glen too. And that indian, Terry. I wasn't much liked by anyone.I did not fit in in any of those groups. I guess I really understood the Sky Londa boys didn't like me that night I had them over to the main house for dinner and beer and after I got drunk and passed out they covered me with newspapers and set the papers on fire. Yeah, I was trouble wherever I went. Acting out my anger. So, I wish I could tell you Black Mountain days were a time of growth, wonder or discovery for me but alas I can not. But if there were no bad there would be no good. No dark there would be no light. I remember seeing Peach down on California Palo Alto about 11 years ago and I was astounded to feel she was giving me unconditional love. My greatest hope is that we can give unconditional love to ourselves and to each other.
Love, Dean

The remains of a tree house are still there, below triangle lake, in a large old tree. It is remarkable that something built with little care has survived, when almost all traces of other structures at the Land, Black Mountain, and Stallings have been removed. - StallingsToday