Around 5 pm yesterday my uncle Ron (and neighbor) showed up at my door with a very large fish, a 16 inch Crappie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Crappie of that size. As he walked up I thought he was carrying a good sized bass. He offered him up and I happily accepted. I’d planned on having a bit of pesto pasta for dinner and now that would be complimented with fried fish. I watched the sunset while I ate and listened to the emerging frog song and the chickens as they wandered off slowly towards their coop. I was just about finished when Petunia (the deer) showed up for an evening snack of corn and a sprinkle of chicken scratch.
I’ve happily lived well below the poverty line for my entire adult life and have always been very content with living small or in shared spaces with others. Of course this is easier with no children but is still entirely possible with them as I’ve confirmed with a bit of research. But it requires a different outlook on life. I’m not the least bit interested in a huge house full of material possessions. That generally requires a life long commitment to wage slavery. Give me a part time job or freelance work and I’ll enjoy the free time gardening or working on a community project. I can’t enjoy the pesto if I don’t grow the basil and sharing it at a potluck almost always makes it taste better!
Strangely enough living the “simple life” allows for the freedom to become a much more complex person through on-going self-reflection and education. This is not to say that those with large houses and full time employment cannot continue to learn, but to say that there is something important about the pace of living. When I lived in Memphis I mostly got around by walking or riding a bike. Yes, it took me longer to get where I was going but along the way I picked figs and literally stopped to smell the roses. I learned the local bird population and met neighbors. I also got the health benefits of the exercise.
Out there in the nation trouble continues to brew. The fundamentals of the economic/financial/energy system have not changed and we’re still headed for collapse. The political system of the country, guided by corporate media, become more divisive and less constructive. It is a system which has served the wealthy elite for far too long but most working people, be they “conservative” or “liberal” don’t seem to get the fact that they are being used. The two party system should be destroyed. Our sense and understanding of what is possible is far too limited. We’re letting ourselves be emotionally manipulated by a cultural process designed to divide and herd us around like livestock.
I think we need to slow down. We need to stop listening to the party lines, stop aligning ourselves with the party lines. We need to remember what it is like to be humans. We need to remember what it is like to grow and harvest food and then to share it in community. We need to remember what it is to feel connected in community. Community is like a complex tapestry with many weavers. We all share the task and add our bits, we weave it together. It is our work, comfort and support and it tells our history as well. It’s long past the time that we get back to this task and that we remember that it is up to us to do it well. It is up to us to do it together.
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