Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
But that's too simple a judgment. At the reunion I attended, until my son called me back to frustrated napping attempts, I was struck by the bigness of the Carter family, and its location. Although there are slices of this extended family chaos that is as far flung as Alaska, Colorado, Massachusetts-- the largest grouping, hand over fist, is in the Huntington area. This family is this family because of the land on which they stand, and keeps them naming themselves as a part.The history I witness, I now find myself a part of, lives in the land, the places and names themselves. This family is sacred, and deserves a place, a life if its own, in the land from where we come.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
The truth is I am leaving the state, the relationships, the communities with whom I have the most connection, the most satisfaction, the best possibility of fulfillment. And we are moving up the coast to the land that calls to us, the lifestyle that we dream of, the reality we want to make.
I wish we could do it in Pennsylvania, and know that we cannot. Family resources make it possible for us to make the move to Vermont, and family is what calls us back to our New England roots. This call is not without its challenges, its risk, of course. But the call needs response, and we are ready to do it. And so, a summer of travel and visiting, presenting at the FGC Gathering in July, family on Cape Cod and Alaska, and finally we land in Vermont in mid-August-- just in time to prep some beds and plant 10 pounds of garlic.
Our dream is to grow food on the land, building soil and community, finding the quiet and space for relationships and family that we hunger for. Our dream is to live differently then the powerful and persistent race-of-the-rat that has so thoroughly hoodwinked us all into believing that someone else owns our time. Our dream is to move beyond the mediated life of the work-a-day, and into direct confrontation with what is.
Along those lines, I have been enjoying completely re-listening to The Dispossessed, by Ursula Le Guin, as I do my last bits of work on the farm I have been cultivating these past six years. This book is a revelation whenever I encounter it. One of the most powerful things that stays with me is the awareness of reality connected to the centrality of self-determination as expressed in a utopian anarchist society.
This is most directly expressed in the protagonists experience, as an anarchist, of visiting a highly polarized capitalist society. The protagonist-- a revolutionary physicist limited by his anarchist society, named Shevek-- travels to the home world from which the anarchists had fled, in order to explore his physics in intellectual freedom, in order to keep a sense of revolution alive in a complacent society. What Shevek notices clearly at one point on this highly polarized, classed, and capitalist world, is both the proliferation of and invisibility-in-plain-sight of excrement. Excrement-- human shit. Excrement-- human excess. Excrement-- art that is propaganda, distraction, drug. Excrement-- life without center, without purpose. Excrement to Shevek is real, part of life and necessarily something to be dealt with. But outside of the reality-loving society from which he comes, this is stuff that is pushed out of sight to the marginalized classes, and the results are bizarre to him.
Oh how this book makes me see our own society with new eyes, and my path with critical awareness. One of the issues that is so crucial in our farm project is compost. Where will we put it? What will we put in it? Water is an issue, we don't want to put it too close to well or upstream from pond. And location matters because we want it close enough so we can monitor it, use it, maybe easily add our own waste to it, as we get better at tending to its heat. I want to be up close and personal with this excrement that will make our gardens grow. I want to know this compost like the back of my hand, and know the value in all its forms.
And so I hope for the ability to see the excrement all around me, and to see its value, its reality. As I unhinge from a lifestyle of rush and tumble, reach and strive, I want to see all of life as it is, and not hide behind the structures that would keep life from me.