For years I have been dreaming of some-day homesteading & it is a grand possibility that the day is here that this dream can begin in full. In groundedness. In partnership & possibility. I think the day is here that the land-based experimenting begins (for it will always be an experiment). The land beckons. The land needs me (and don’t I know how I need it!). It is continually amazing to me the things which are valued in our present culture. It is true we are divorced from the earth as a culture. Inherent in this problem is not technology (though without boundaries, this development contributes to this divide). It is an orientation toward the earth which does not value the things of the earth which are, which exist and have existed for millions of years. This is clean pure water & air. These are two things which our society treats as throwaway commodities. I remember living in LA and weeping, feeling such pain over the degradation and devaluing of water & air. As if there is anything more important. And land-use is tied up in this, too. For everywhere throughout the United States the government is funding & subsidizing on a mass scale farm operations which are inherently damaging to the soil and water of the earth, which is our body & blood, too.
And so here, in this Appalachian homestead, to find pure water, clean air, good soil is like an unnamable gift that seemingly should be available to everyone (as it is so natural and inherent), yet is a scarcity. All over people complain of the city water and in many other countries, water is even more devastated. Yet why? How have we let it slip this far?
I am humbled to have the opportunity to caretake this land, to care for and enjoy & relish in this opportunity. Oddly enough the earth & the people groups most closely associated with life of the earth are the most often devastated. Why do you think this is? To me it seems to be because there is this greed-instict for more – an insatiable desire to dominate which has taken over people of the earth. Those that don’t have it or who don’t feed that part of themselves, who are more peaceable, less interested in expanding and taking over and who are more inherently of-the-earth up until now have continually gotten taken-over by this contingent that would seek to exploit & continue conquering & dominating. Up until now this dominating contingent has been able to continually spread out over the earth extracting resources, gaining in material wealth & therefore in control. But now the very resources of our planet, the fabric of the earth is crying out for us to listen, to stand, to call out this dominating streak, to change our ways and return to the earth. It is up to us what we will do and each of our actions makes a difference. All the difference in the world, in fact.
To have found a remaining place undamaged and into perpetuity placed into a land conservation is a dream-come-true. It is an unnamable vestige of the primordial gift humans have a right to on this planet. The gods of petroleum, the dollar, flashy shiny things like cars and new appliances, bigger less efficient spacious homes~ full of comfort and ease – these all attract the people of the earth away from this inherently rewarding life-style of tending the earth, caring for what already is. Let me ask, when will the material things ever be enough? Christmas after Christmas- or whenever!- of getting gifts- when will that one gift ever be enough? Or is there within the modern human an insatiable wanting for the next thing & the next (which is natural enough). But look at what happens if this desire-penchant is never examined or named. Everyone has plenty of things filling their homes, but what has happened to the clean air & water? What has happened to the beauty of the natural world?
Everyone is moving around so fast, maybe they couldn’t see it anyway. But has the speed & commodities of the culture taken us away from something inherent and very important to what it means to be human? I believe it has. And I believe the answer lies in returning to the earth. Returning to her rhythms, to relationship with her. Practicing listening to the land instead of placing our temporary, this-one-lifetime wills and desires into the mix. For if we do not listen, the earth is going to respond to us. She has all the gifts to give us, but if we do not start treating her with respect & loving her, the systems are going to fail. The things which we need to live (clean air, water & good food) are going to become scarce. Then the money, the car, the house will not matter. If we don’t have these very basic things, which now we take for granted, humans will not be able to inhabit this place any longer. It is time to wake up. This is a wake up call. Wake Up! Let these words impress upon you and see for yourself, from within, if they are true to you. If they are, ask yourself from within what the next step is for you. We must all begin seeing our true roots in mother earth. Enough of the divide, the divorce from her seeking only to consume. We must become active participants in the earth story. Planting, harvesting, sharing and tending. Experimenting in relationship with the earth. Then let our actions be our song of thanks for this great gift of being here.