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Billie Jo Melchor 24 March 2008

Billie Jo Melchor

Humble superhero, deep lover, shallow puddle stomper and hopeless romantic

Billie was an odd child. Always got good grades, but was observed in a semi- state of daydreams and fantasies most of the time. She grew up in a wild place, nestled in a wooded valley in the rocky mountains of Montana.

She was raised without running water or electricity and spent more time on horseback than in a car (or anywhere else). Long days of Huckelberry Fin inspired adventures, camping trips to waterfalls with her dog and tree climbing were among her favorite things to do. She aspired to one day become a cowboy/carpenter, so she spent many hours honing her shooting skills and building tree forts. She was an exceptional hunter and could shoot and skin a deer by the age of 9. She developed very keen tracking skills and spent many days in the forest, watching and observing its inhabitants. She felt most at home in the silent forest.

Then, one day she moved to Alaska with her mom and brother and became a commercial fisherman. She threw nets, learned how to tie knots and arm wrestled her way around the docks. She got her first pair of sealegs and aspired to become a “salty dawg”. She loved the sea, but yearned for a tropical climate and a life on the beach.

She moved to Kauai and lived on the beaches and in the jungles for 5 years. She learned how to surf, farm, survive in the remote jungle, make a living by creating art and jewelry and most importantly…she learned how to live freely. This was the beginning of her spiritual awakening, and she found herself in perpetual awe and respect for the beauty of the ina (land). She fell deeper in love with Kauai, year after year.

She eventually became a house-dwelling mammal and transitioned from her gypsy state into a more “on-the-grid” existence. She started several businesses and worked interesting, and odd jobs. She had a good life. But, one day she awoke with an intense thirst for the big city.

So, she packed up and moved to New York City. She did rooftop gardens for the year she was there. In New York she discovered that adventure and freedom can exist, even within an urban construct. She befrended many interesting people and held conversation with the homeless as well as the professional. She will always practice true compassion and have an unwavering curiosity about the human drama.

She waved goodbye to New York and moved to Oregon, where she lived in a beautifull palace at the base of Mt. Hood. she sat in meditation for 100 hours, in order to find the true meaning of suffering and discovered an equinimity to living life. She became a certified wildland firefighter, but met a boy and decided she was more interested in living than burning alive.

Then, she moved into Portland and has been living there since. She thinks it’s a great little town, and raves about its inhabitants. She feels at home there, and appreciates its strong sence of community and its permaculture values.

What are you up to?

About 5 foot 3…. (haha).

I manage a spa, it’s called Common Ground. Most people have heard of it, because it is well-known for its outside hot tubs. It is an interesting little place, because it’s clothing optional and focuses on community and alternative healing. The center offers use of sensory deprivation tanks, massage, network spinal analysis, audio visual stimulation and steam room and sauna. I am pretty passionate about sensory deprivation and have spent lots of time researching Dr. John Lilly (the inventor of the tanks). I like the tanks because it facilitates my meditation practice and allows me to “tap in” to the source frequently. I am also an artist, musician and poet…so I am constantly cultivating those passions.

What are you into?

I get into a lot of things. I like to try new things that push me to become a better, more interesting person. I recently finished a pottery class and am looking to get back into Capoerela (Brazilian martial arts). I just got an offer to joing the Portland roller derby team and am considering. Miss Lucy Furr… wadda ya think? I do a lot of writing and playing my guitar. I love all kinds of instruments,  and can pretty much play anything in my hands. I just purchased my first turntables and a mixer and am aspiring to become a rockin’ DJ. I am still learning how to scratch and mix, though… still a novice. One of my favorite things to do is dance! I feel an sense of undescribable freedom when I’m dancing… I am interested in learning new ways to move, like breakdancing and pole dancing (!). I am a crafstman and a pretty good carpenter as well. I know more about cars than most of my guy friends and I can kick your ass in thumbwrestling (ok, thats probibly a lie).  I hang out with my friends a lot and have a deep appreciation for fine wine and food. I love to cook, and am pretty good at it. Other than that, mostly into something debocherous and hopefully exciting….

What do you like most about Portland?

Definitley the people. I’ve been very fortunate to have lived in gorgeous, untouched wilderness most of my life so I tend to take that part for granted. It’s really the people that excite me here. I love the strong appreciation for community, and the ecologically concious lifestyles that people lead here. I feel like rather than just talking about it, people here actually do it. They make a difference. they trade in their cars for a bike (yes!!), they compost and make worm bins, they volunteer, they become vegetarians or vegans, they make art and music, they play in the rain, they try hard to leave a lighter footprint on the earth, they pay attention to where the products that they buy actually come from, they read the listed ingredients, they support local ORGANIC farmers, they learn how to grow a garden, they make kombucha tea, they like to play with records, they appreciate good coffee and food, they love to drink good beer and they love to dance! Yes, people of Portland, it’s because of you that I love this quirky little town. You rock (wink, wink)!

If you could have one super power, what would it be?

You know, that’s been an on-going debate since grade school. It’s a tough call, really. I think that being invisible could be useful, but so would time travel. I really just wanna dress like a super hero and somehow save people.

Do you eat toast?

Funny that you ask, I was just thinking about how much I love it! There’s something special about toast, and I find that typically the people that are really into it, you know… that REALLY get it, well they are quite possibly some of the most interesting people I have met. It’s a pre-requisite for dating, actually. “Must love toast” . Call me crazy, but without toast jam wouldn’t taste half as good.

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