Reflections and Returns
Trip Start Jan 10, 2006
60Trip End Jun 02, 2006
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Everything is nice in western NC. These mountains seem like Eden until you compare them to what they were in 1800, or until you drive by the police. Today I went fishing at a lake my friend, Eden, grew up at, and I caught three huge trout. I also found out that two of my mushroom hunting friends got hit by car while walking down the street in St. Louis. And there's a group of citizens trying to save their community farm in the city of L.A (www.southcentralfarmers.org or com, take your pick). Others are planning the purchase of a whole town to create a town they're willing to live in.
Ever since I went to work on the Pierce farm in 1999, I've been searching for that place, that piece of land that feels solid, safe, eternal. It takes more than a place, though. No man is an island. There's no such thing as a self-sufficient house. Even whole communities depend on other communities. It seems only a region can have everything that a region needs. It's really a region we've chosen when our feet are our only carriage.
Most people don't consider their regions these days. Distances are measured in gallons or hours, not days. The speed of life in this global empirical culture is constantly increasing. Yet, having spread to all corners of all continents, it's running out of space and inputs. Fearing death, we maximize our time efficiency and selfishly disregard our use of space. Isn't space (one Earth) finite and time infinite? I guess only if you care about the generations before and after yourself. What's really safer, creativity or standardization?
Why don't people consider their regions or their grandchildren (or what's growing around their yard) these days? What guides their thoughts? What guides their actions? Their leaders? Their media? What do they put their trust and faith in? So, not only are time and space mixed up, but guidance has been separated from the original creative force, the original leader, the original guide (god? what are the roots of that word?). The separation of church and state is only a good thing when the church is corrupt. Leadership is always a spiritual vocation. For 2 million years we put faith in our leaders because they were guided by God. The first laws were natural, eternal. People's actions were only restricted when longevity of the nation required it. Now laws are written to "provide jobs" (as if we don't have enough work to do fixing our landscape), "generate growth" (in direct contradiction of natural law), or, at their worst, to persecute ("protect"?) someone.
So, with our region, we must choose our leaders. We also choose a diet, people, plants and animals to live amongst, a climate, a trade... - it all adds up to a culture. Our own choices and actions must keep us (and our land and children) healthy and happy. We choose to take responsibility for our own mind, body and soul, or suffer the fate of that which we follow.
So, now, one culture is covering the planet. In fact, it is covered. Ethiopians were the last nation to loose their divine leader, like the last temptation all over again. Both times it sparked a new (or an evolution of) faith among the people. Some Amerikan, Asian and Afrikan tribes still have their tribal and local leaders. Don't believe that the Amerikan Indian tribes were kingless and queenless, like schools of fish. Before the diseases hit (1500's), the Amerikas were full of people who built great utopian cities (see Cahokia mounds, but beware of the archeologists' explanations). Their susceptibility to diseases ruined their chances of resisting the invaders. They almost went extinct. Being the original humans, the Afrikans aren't so susceptible to disease. They'll never go extinct.
They are, however, being colonized by a cultural disease that is the source of much suffering. In fact, before I reached Ethiopia, I had given up on Afrika as a safe haven for humans. The adoption of Euro-American agriculture is ruining the Afrikan landscape as fast as it ruined Europe. People are becoming crazy about acquiring material goods, and they're forgetting what their grandmothers taught them. Like so many Amerikans and the medieval Europeans, they're constantly forced to seek a better place. This is happening in Ethiopia, too, but the Abyssinians are harder to fool. They hold onto an ancient spirituality that explains current events. Even though they were lead astray by propaganda in the early 1970's, they now can look back and see their folly. And the Rastafarians are there to constantly remind them of their grand past and their great destiny.
You might dismiss this as the ramblings of a youth brainwashed by the music he listens to. (My mom always asks, "Who told you this?" as if I'm not experienced enough to find truth for myself.) But we're all guided by the things we give our attention to. That's the whole Afrikan concept of spirit possession - each of us is a single, unique spirit which is the culmination of all the spirits (living and dead, human and otherwise) that have ever influenced us. I'd rather be influenced by people who speak truth and seek an ideal reality, than by what's on television (ads and half-truths), what's on the radio (ads, half-truths and terribly fabricated music), what's at the "supermarket" (foreign goods wrapped in plastic wrapped in cardboard), what's at the mall (foreign craftsmanship), who's preaching (priest and professor), or who ever else is only trying to make money.
I don't mean to blame or judge anyone other than myself. I know what my eyes have seen. Unless someone brings their man-made laws and guns into my home region, my protesting days are over. (Rather than protesting occupation, the Ethiopians disallowed it at Adwa. I'm sure the Italians called the Ethiopians terrorists, too.) All I can do is check myself and teach others to do the same.
So, give me a shout if you want to know my plans, or if you want to go to Afrika. I'm looking for donations and volunteers for any and all of the communities I visited. I'm also producing a budget of the whole adventure for those interested. Thanks to those who supported me. I'll do what I can. And to those who doubted, may you celebrate future positivity.