Last week, I spent some time with a friend, JB's son, who was visiting Minnesota from his new home in Alaska. He told me that he and his brother, who still lives in Minnesota, had gone out to the place where they had grown up, to the homestead that their dad had carved out of the woods, hoping to be able to walk the woods, look around a bit and maybe kindle some memories. They had a nice time out there, and it turned out to be a good idea.
So, I made my own pilgrimage, of sorts, a few days later, on another beauty of a fall day. When I pulled into the driveway, I was struck by how tall the trees had grown, how the place seemed enshrouded in yellow and gold, with a soft light that felt really good. Unfortunately, I had done this on the spur of the moment and had ignored the nudge I'd gotten to take my camera, but I walked around and got a sense of the place it had become. I had moments of sadness, but they were quickly replaced with great peace. I'm so glad I went.
The day was fading, but enough sunlight was left to take some pictures and feel whatever it was I was going to feel. I was wondering if the energy I had felt the other day was the day itself, or the place. This idea of energy around a place intrigues me and I have wondered where it comes from. Is it the place or the energy we bring to it? I have no answer for that and maybe none is necessary, but when I arrived, the energy definitely still was there and although the trees had turned and many leaves had fallen, it was still awash in fall beauty.
As I walked around the corner of the house nearest the woods, I startled a deer that had been browsing back there. I seem to be startling deer lately, don't I? Anyway, as he hightailed it out of there, I was filled with this sense of what was, what had been, and not just in Bungo, but throughout this country, and not so very long ago, when Native Americans lived here and across America, before the white man's agenda involving avarice and the gutting of a way of life that was once one with the natural world. It's not something I can think of for long periods of time.
JB had built this house in stages, starting in the mid-70's when many folks were attempting to do some homesteading, build their lives from the ground up. It took more than a few years to do so, starting with the stone foundation of the house, from stones gathered in the field and hauled into place. As he did so, he also built a small barn that housed a chicken coop with an outside run for them to peck and scratch, a place for his goats, which he milked and from which he made cheese, a rabbit hutch which had once housed many rabbits. He'd built a small pig barn with a state of the art fence enclosure for the pig to move about a bit more freely without escaping, until fall, when he would become food for the table. JB did his own killing and his own butchering. He knew where his food came from and his heat. He kept his woodsheds full. It was a lifestyle that was the antithesis of debt.
In late winter, early spring, when the sap would start running from the maples and the birch, he would tap the trees, with taps he'd made himself from wood on his land, and collect it to make syrup. He had a stone fireplace he'd built where he would boil it down over an open fire, the syrup in large pans above it. It was one of the many things he did to sustain his own life as free from outside influence or aggravation as possible. Many others also did so during this time, but it's not an easy life. Not many people are willing to live with an outhouse and all that implies. JB has more than once mentioned that he always had to dig a new hole for it in the summer when it was hot and the mosquitoes many. Now, they have been outlawed and many options for self-sufficiency removed, or made very difficult by The Powers That Be.
I am not mentioning all of this out of nostalgia. I'm rather fond of indoor plumbing. I'm mentioning it partly because of how very grateful I am for my land, here and now, and for all the possibilities inherent in it. But, being out in Bungo did make me think a bit more about what has happened, the course we all took to this place where we now find ourselves. The State of the Union, if you will.
You see, one of the reasons I was able to walk around his place so freely is that there is a sign on the door, a notice of foreclosure, and it is unoccupied. At least two families have come and gone from this place since JB left it in 1999, eventually answering the siren song of the SW. The latest family could not make it work for reasons unknown. Although, from what I saw inside, someone had done some fine remodeling and it is a shame they left in such a hurry. Pieces of their lives are still in there and will probably not be removed by loving hands.
Don't get me wrong. I'm still a hopeaholic, believing that good things will arise out of what must fall. Rebuilding will take imagination and effort. We are all more resilient, more capable, more skilled and talented than we've been led to believe. Out of this, great good can and will come. But, it's up to us. I've said it before and I am saying it again: provide your own hope. It isn't going to come from any government source and it isn't going to come from wishful thinking, with our heads in the sand.
It's time for a great awakening all across this land, almost past time. So, we'd better get crackin'.
Why do I have so much hope still? It comes from the messages I get from the universe telling me there is reason for great hope. My hope yesterday came in the form of two little raccoons who were sitting in the dry grass, just off the edge of the road as I approached JB's former driveway. They popped up together, reminding me of the two I lost, then ran down the ditch and into the corn field. Yes, raccoons like corn, but I know it was a message. And it was all the message I needed.
What started my thinking along this track again this morning?
This post: http://www.coyoteprime-runningcauseicantfly.blogspot.com/2012/10/welcome-to-asylum-capitalism-ceaseless.html