I refuse to succumb to The Nothing; the feeling that my children’s future is dark and written in stone. Will there be less energy? Maybe, and certainly less oil and more storms. But I am committed to ensuring that there will also be more love, more free time, and more community, better food, and deeper thought. Readers know much of the Big Stuff I am doing with my pals here in South Central Wisconsin to that end -forming 501C3’s, building a more viable Foodshed, expirementing with gasifiers, making biodiesel, talking about sustainable aquaponics and biomass forestry, educating our neighbors on The Natural Step and Permaculture. We are doing Good Things… we are working daily at Being the Change.
But, of course, lots goes into that – and I am not just talking about reading books and doing research. Some little things underling the Big Things that help me in my struggle for progressive thought and action in the face of depressing news.
St Johns Wort Tea
I am not convinced of herbal remedies – but I am not convinced of God either, yet I go to our Unitarian church more Sunday’s than not so maybe I am just hard wired to agnosticism. I don’t care if it is a placebo effect – I like the tea and it really does promote a Good Mood as claimed. I think better, read more productively, and spend higher quality time with my wife & kids when I have a cup or two.
Domaine du Sac
I am more of a fine beer guy than a fine wine guy, but we are lucky enough to have an award winning winery locally situated with the estate of Wollersheim Winery and they have me hooked on their estate red. And a glass (or mug for that matter) of it often accompanies me when I write – I guess I find carbonation distracting when I type or something. Their Prairie Fume is also incredibly good. We go through about 2 cases of each annually which may explain why I write so much.
They got me. It is like free association music or Pandora, but somehow better even though you have to pay for it. Recent finds have been Chairlift, She & Him, Old Crow Medicine Show, Vetiver, Jose Gonzales, Aidan Hawken and others. These are a decent clip away from my typical musical preference of Clutch and my inability to leave early 90’s Grundge behind, but it is likely that I am mellowing with age. Plus its hard to read when your head is thumping to a solid bass rhythm.
I have been toying with this for a while, but I would like to write a book. Hell, I read enough books on sustainability, and I would like to add to that body of knowledge in a more concerted effort than blogging someday. For now it is in outline form (which is growing), but I would like to make a practical stab at David Holgrem’s challenge to “permaculture” Suburbia or at least make it a much more productive and vibrant place. Our built environment is with us for 50-100 years and won’t give a wit about Energy Descent or Climate Change. Our houses and freeways aren’t going to change, so we will need to… and there isn’t enough land for us all to homestead 20 acres. This may never make it off the MacBook, but in the mean time putting some structure to my reading and writing will doubtless help organize my thoughts. Really I am just outlining and writing a handbook for what I am doing with our family and network anyway: localizing and building resilience. It’ll be a fun project to keep my mind occupied for a while since I can’t plant potatoes yet.
The Dark Days of Winter are looking very black indeed this year. But in my experience, doing is always the best antidote for depression and despair. Put some verbs in your life (fretting and worrying don’t count) and back them up with some environmental muscle – for me that is good beverages, music and a clear sense of purpose.