I am feeling better and better about our timing for this move to the woods. The country seems to be falling apart quickly and I hope to find some safety amongst the trees. While I listen to NPR quite a lot, I’m no longer feeling like I live in “civilization”, which may be a good decision… as “civilization” seems to be in rapid decline of late.
Some feel that I am hiding out, copping out, not doing all I can to help make a difference. And even I feel like there are things I would like to do: tie myself to a barrel like my friend Katherine to oppose the pipeline in Iowa https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1780391688952255&set=a.1757318134592944.1073741834.100009443235384&type=3&theater; write articles for The Nation like my comrade Bill McKibben https://www.thenation.com/article/exxon-knew-everything-there-was-to-know-about-climate-change-by-the-mid-1980s-and-denied-it/; disrupt local propaganda meetings by Enbridge like my sister Winona LaDuke http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/news/local/4179373-you-couldnt-hear-you-couldnt-sit-activists-asked-leave-enbridge-meeting-tuesday. These people are my heroes. But these are not my strengths. And these are not where my heart is being called. Maybe I will do some of these things again someday. But for today, I am largely observant of the world at large. This is in part due to feeling a bit helpless to make a difference, though I do continue to burn sage and send out positive energy, but also more in my desire to focus on learning to live more simply. It’s what my heart has been called to do for some time now.
In this time of observation, I am standing for a life that is more sustainable. Rather than marching or going someplace to be counted, to have my voice heard, I stay here. I am quietly living a life that is less dependent on fossil fuels than I have ever lived in the past. Yes, I still go to town occasionally and I still use electricity, more than I’d like at present. I still buy juice in plastic containers and have too much garbage. I still have a long way to go. But I have come a long way too. I use a lot less fossil fuel products than I ever have. And it feels good to be in the process of transitioning to a simpler, more sustainable life.
I am confident in saying I am a better steward of water than most. I do not poop and pee in potable water. I gather water from the dehumidifier and use it for showers or other non-potable purposes. Until this week, I have lived on water carried in – typically less than two gallons/day, sometimes less than one. But now that I have running water, I am using only water gathered from the sky. I continue to use as little as possible because the cisterns only hold so much and there are no guarantees on when they will have additions.
I happened upon The Farm Whisperer website the other day and I think this explains it well. http://farmwhisperer.com/about-website
“Rather than spend your time, effort, money, and energy on fighting the juggernaut, invest it in your own projects which set you free of the need for those products. Rather than march in protest, plant a garden. Why carry signs when you can use the lumber and time to build a chicken coop? Every little thing you do for yourself is a protest. Take away their power by becoming independent. Share what you are doing, help spread this knowledge so that others can repeat and build upon your efforts.” ~ Ken Peavey
The fact that Dan and I are working to get more and more independent for our daily needs is our own form of protest. We are saying goodbye to the American Dream of working for 30-45 years, consuming our share (more really as Americans use a disproportionate share of the world’s resources), and then retiring to a life of leisure. We have worked, have earned some income, which allowed us to build this dream. Now we plan to work for ourselves to grow food, care for the forest, and share surplus with friends and neighbors. We will still be a part of the consumer society as we can never be fully self-sufficient. But we will hopefully make a much lighter impact on Mother Earth traveling this new path.
It’s a quieter life but there is also a sense of Rewilding here.
Rewild, v; to return to a more wild or self-willed state; the process of undoing domestication. Synonyms: undomesticate, uncivilize. ~ http://www.urbanscout.org/
Our home is not unlike other cabins in that I have a bed in which to sleep, comfy chairs, a refrigerator, a microwave, a washing machine, a radio. I have four sewing machines for goodness sake! Way more than most “cabins” probably. But I don’t have all the creature comforts many Americans enjoy: a furnace to regulate heat, a conventional stove, TV with cable, flush toilets, cell phone service. I have a cell phone, just not really any service! And I have returned to the world of land lines… a requirement for having internet access here in Rural America (because they get a kickback from the government for every “telephone” they install).
So in a sense I am “uncivilized”. And I am mostly happy without these things. I prefer watching the birds to the television, hearing the fire instead of the furnace clicking on, taking time to commune with the trees as I gather deadwood for fires. Snuggling with the cat and reading a book gives me comfort. Passing the days in solitude finds me taking time to craft and create, cook a pot of soup, make a cup of tea.
I’ve recently been talking with friends about “A” women (those who would rather pee inside) and “B” women (those comfortable peeing outside). https://permies.com/t/3965/women-peeing-outdoors Peeing outside gives me a sense of being a pioneer. Before I became a convert at Dancing Rabbit in 2014, I thought it would be awkward, gross, weird. And it’s still some of those things sometimes. But I feel good knowing that I’m giving back nitrogen and phosphorus to the planet and that I’m preventing the waste of water, a most valuable resource, on something as mundane as carrying my waste to… somewhere?
Seeing the trees all day long, hearing the birds, watching the squirrels chase. It is all making me feel more in touch with our planet. I feel a greater need to make decisions about how I live in a way that will protect these things… act as if they too are important, just as important to this planet as human life. Actually, they are MORE important than human life. I am of the camp that believes humans, as a species, have been the most devastating plague this planet has ever experienced. And I think it may be that Gaia is trying to shake us off with the earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, droughts and hurricanes.
So I listen to NPR and keep up with the world happenings to a degree. I will say it’s quite embarrassing listening to the coverage of 45 talking with other world leaders. While they sound diplomatic, tactful, respectful… he sounds like an unpolished nube (I know, you thought I was going to say turd, but I didn’t), oblivious to the effect his off-the-cuff remarks may have. I admit that I still laugh when the obvious questions are asked. “What should we tell the citizens of countries who are concerned about your statements?” He doesn’t care! Why waste breath asking this question? He’s in his own alternate reality where he is a superstar and everyone thinks he’s “great” and all the problems are fixed with the stroke of his pen.
And I fear that many in this country still believe he can too. They are breathlessly awaiting the magic moment when all will be “great again”. They don’t understand how people think 45 is “arrogant”. They still see him as the answer. And 45 lives in a world where he has no critics (or at least none with any validity). Did you hear he reported no complaints about pushing for the go ahead for DAPL? I think unplugging the White House phones to incoming calls was the reason why. While there may be good things that come of his tenure, I truly feel that they will mostly come from the opposition to his ideas, not from the implementation of them. And it’s good to see people standing up. It gives me hope that we won’t just go down without a fight. And that there is hope for not becoming a despotic nation.
Meanwhile, I’ll be here in the woods… trying to figure out how to live more sustainably each day and less reliant on the workings of “civilization”. As this dream has materialized, many have changed from calling me crazy a decade ago to saying now, “I think you may be on the right track with that plan.” I’ve issued invites for friends and acquaintances to come see what we’re doing. I’ve even noted that we would enjoy some company on the journey. Most just shake their heads, unable to see reason, desire or ability (I’m never sure which) to join us. But if things keep going downhill at the rate they are, I just hope they don’t all decide to come up and join us next week! Maybe we’ll have some good supports in place in a year or two. And maybe by then, some will be ready to head to the woods too.