May 23, 2009, 8pm and Intermission at Wisconsin Fashion week where my 30 something wife is making a stand for Real Beauty against the insurgent tide of all but 2 dimensional (literally) teen-something “beauties” that have come to define what it means to be pretty in America. She is stomping the runway against all odds through incredible skill, vit and vim and I am damn proud of her. And yes, its hot to be married to a model. For me, sitting in the Fashion Show was interesting to say the least. Pretty sure I was the only potato farmer there… Now, placed on a bench on the sidewalk of State Street and People Watching. Just amazing to see the world passing by and I am waxing philosophical. Go figure.
State street is so vibrant, so unlike the subdivision where I live. So many people; so easy to go all existential… what are they doing, where are they going. Who do they love what are they thinking about? Diversity everywhere with swallows and nighthawks to boot.
Country living – is it an escape or a quest? Am I running from something or towards something? Times like this I really wonder as the city certainly has its allure. I was raised in the suburbs of Chicago – and never felt at home. The competion, the sameness for mile after mile after mile. Going to school out in the plains – Nebraska and South Dakota literally opened me to new horizons and the vastness and the cleansing emptiness of Nature. Wisconsin brought what I thought to be a compromise. For a year we lived right smack in the middle of down town Milwaukee – but it was nothing like this. Where we now reside.. in a small bedroom community of 1200 on the freeway with no infrasctuture other than its HOA’s and Outlet Mall will likely never feel like “home”; there is simply not enough there. Should the free way cease to exist the town would shrink to nothingness again. There is no purpose; no community.
At the farm, I do feel more connected, but the communion is more with Gaia than my fellow sapiens. The earth is so alive there as to create an almost visceral reaction – the vibrancy fills your nostrils, your mouth, perhaps even your soul. Bringing life from the soil is less a matter of coaxing than of daming; an attempt to hold back the bounty of the Earth so as to get only what is needed/wanted rather than the profuseness that Nature desires.
But the farm is not my home either – at least not yet. And truth be told, I am not convinced it will be. The farm entails so many finalities. Livestock ends most travel, affordable land removes us from most to all of human contact as we get further and further away from civilization. And removing ourselves that far – is that sustainable? We cannot create *everything* we need on the farm, and post oil is we are 40 miles from a population center is that workable? With whom will we barter and share labor? With whom will I drink my home brew? What village will help raise my children? That desicon is a bit off, but it is not a forgone conclusion despite me soul’s yearning to bring forth bounties from the Earth.
Here on State Street I know that the denisty is not sustainable either – too many people even in this lightly populated metropolis for the solar energy falling in its square mileage to produce enough calories. But I think that this may be closer to the sustainable ideal than a 20 acre oasis an hours drive from here. I look around and see the collee youth, the educated culturata, the hedonists and know that much will change in the coming years – the years that my children will grow to witness. As the Flobots say – we are the architects of our Last Stand. The key to that battle, as any military strategist will tell you, is in choosing your ground. I have many of the tools and am learning the skills – the choice looming now before me is to where I sink my own roots.
Much thought on this in the coming years.
Be the Change.