Sugarplum Sangha

The Box Car

A Box Car and a Dream. Our practice is about transformation - compost into flowers and old dilapidated trailers into peaceful refuges for guests and residents. In a previous life, the Box Car was once a trailer used as a library for a charter school at Mariposa. After the school disbanded, the trailer sat out beyond the garden while Mariposa was mostly unoccupied and unused. Now, with the Sangha in residence and bringing new life to Mariposa, the Box Car offers us the opportunity to grow and deepen our community.

In the two and half years since Sugarplum Sangha began living and retreating at Mariposa, many practitioners have expressed interest in also becoming residents. The Box Car will be a space for them to live with the Sangha for an extended period, experience life with community in the oak forests, and transition to a cabin as full time residents. By creating more space for practitioners to offer their energy to hosting retreats, Days of Mindfulness, weekly sanghas, and a daily practice schedule the Box Car be a valuable resource to Sugarplum, benefiting the whole community (residents and members in Ukiah, and the Bay Area). It will also be offered to visiting dharma teachers so they can have a safe and comfortable refuge while leading retreats at Mariposa.

Goal: Raise $10,000
Raised so far: $3,000

Or make a check out to The Mariposa Institute, (memo: Sugarplum Boxcar) and mail to: 3801 Low Gap Rd. Ukiah, CA 95482

The Project

Step 1: Design

Thanks to our awesome new whiteboard, which we salvaged from the trailer itself,  we brainstormed a wonderful design and layout with laminate floors, paneled ceiling, natural plaster walls, a salvaged wood accent wall, live edge window sills with electricity and heat. We also decided to remove one of the doors and add an extra window. With this design, we'll be able to offer comfortable and private space for rest and practice to one or two long term retreatants or prospective new residents.

Step 2: Prepare the Site

The site we chose for the Box Car's new home is sunny corner at the east end of the campground where just a few feet away our seasonal creek flows. Preparation actually began last year when the Sangha hired a tree trimmer to come and limb a big old oak tree that overhung the site. Now the oak is much healthier and balanced, and the Box Car isn't in danger of any falling branches. Besides the tree, the site had been overrun with blackberry bushes. To the smooth tunes of (     ), we spent a whole day hacking and hauling away think and dense black berry bushes, liberating several more feet of concrete foundation and discovering and old fence. Now the Box Car has a nice big space to soak in the sunshine, bathe in the sound of the creek, and gorge on plenty of ripe blackberries still nearby.

Step 3: Move the trailer

The trailer was once a library for the charter school that use to rent the Mariposa facilities. It was on the west end of the property across the garden, over a creek, and down the second drive way. There it sat for the 15 or more years since the school left. Moving it was possible thanks to some expertise, problem solving, and serendipity. First the way had to be cleared. Barry trimmed several trees along both driveways and in the campground so that the roof had space to pass underneath. Then the chasis was inspected. Barry managed to fix the rusty breaks, repair the electrical, and rent the unusual sized hitch that it would take to attach to his heavy duty van. Finally, the trailer could be towed to its new spot, but it would first have to go all the way into town to turn around because the road is too narrow and the turn down the first drive way is too sharp to make a direct trip. The road is bumpy and traction is an issue. We all had our fingers crossed, but it was Barry's skill and mindfulness more than luck that got the Box Car to its new home safely.