Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Annual Roundup 2009

Yet another birthday has arrived, though being blessed as I am by having it in early Spring, it doesn't seem like a cold Winter wind creeping under the door and making my joints ache, it's more like a fresh beginning. Something about birthdays, they always get me to thinking about where I've been and where I'm headed to, so this post is something of a self-indulgent ramble through the past and a smattering of thoughts on the future.

Sadly, Winter has passed me by once again and seen no progress on the fire based hobbies of charcoal production and blacksmithing. With fire season once again soon to be declared such plans need to be put off until Autumn rolls around again. I say no progress, but that is not entirely true, because there has been some sideline style progress given that I've collected some beverage cooling units, similar to condensers, that will work wonderfully for cooling the pyrolysis oil that I'll get from charcoal making, so with the exception of the connecting pieces I've got all the elements ready to go. Perhaps further progress can be made over the hotter months by way of assembling a unit ready for testing once the time arrives...

We've now owned the new block for almost two years, and believe me that time has flown by. We have the 5 year deadline on the house footings, which at first I thought was years away, but now I think will sneak up on us alarmingly swiftly. Given that three quarters of a year has crept by just trying to get the shed up (and I've little doubt the rest of the year will join it before it's done) we'd best get our act together!

Peak everything, which featured so predominately and urgently on the horizon not a year ago has faded from the public mind to a degree, at least in some circles, though in others there is renewed and ever increasing vigour as we see Transition Towns popping up all over the place, Councils creating peak oil plans et al. Our own plans are tied to our new block of land, and so have stagnated in the same degree. The urgency is still there, but I'm calm about the future now. No matter what comes our way we're equipped and skilled to handle it. Even if we had to walk away from both properties we would still survive somewhere.

I no longer try and convince or cajole people into believing that a great disruption is headed our way, that we are destroying our Earth, gutting it for short term pleasure. I've even managed to largely avoid arguing with the nuclear pundits who cannot see the grim realities of their chosen mode of salvation. If they succeed in destroying the Earth then we wont be around to worry about it anyway.

I've moved beyond ambiguous acceptance, uncertain belief, and into the realm of certainty. No, I'm not certain our current society will collapse in my lifetime, but I am certain that our current way of life is just plain wrong. I can see where I need to be, though I am still caught in the struggle to get there, and I've little doubt that the journey will last me my entire life. We need to adopt The Simpler Way, to do away with the devices of distraction and trinkets of turpitude, and to re-align our lives with Nature.

It is a difficult struggle, both personally and at the family level. I'm plagued with questions as to how our children will cope. If change in the state of society does not arrive in our lifetime then they may resent the lifestyle that we have chosen to strive to live, unless we are careful and cunning in the way we present that lifestyle to them. Then I wonder why I wonder, as they already have a keen awareness of many environmental issues, though they have yet to draw the threads together into the tapestry depicting humanity's horrific devastation of it's home that I see before me whenever I have the unpleasant opportunity to see the daily news. Perhaps they can be readily coaxed to make the changes that I struggle to enact? I only came to an environmental awareness as I reached my teens, so maybe with suitable nurture they will be driving the wagon whilst I struggle to climb aboard?

One way or another, the Simpler Way will be our only remaining life-giving choice. It won't be take it or leave it, it will be take it or leave... People don't much care for predictions à la chicken little, but I really don't think we've got more than 5 years before the next wave of economic decline, and I seriously doubt we're going to see any vast improvement in the condition of the biosphere in that time, extreme behaviour from Mother N. will be more and more the norm.

This doesn't dwell in the back of my mind, it is more like a filter through which everything I see must now pass. The carefree, junk laden, overly endowed days of our lives might be coming to an end in the near future, to be replaced by an age of hardship and toil and struggle for survival, so all the easy moments need to be cherished. Cherishing similarly needs to make way for work, lots of hard work to get things prepared. There are of course no guarantees, everything that is prepared can be taken away in an instant, but the act of preparing in and of itself educates the mind and body, prepares them for future problems and the labour required to enact the needed remedies.

Spring has bloomed, the leaves are clothing most of the trees, and there is hope for a bountiful and prosperous season ahead, but this year it will be about making hay whilst the sun shines, feathering the nest (building it might be a good first step ;-) ) and battening down the hatches, for there are more storms on the horizon.


Lee Castle said...

Interesting "ramble"
You always were a good writer... I guess it helps being a good reader.
Since becoming a father I don't think that I have managed to read a single book!
Keep at it.

Geoff said...

G'day Lee. I can sympathise with the reading bit, I've only just started getting back into it, and even then books are few and far between. I guess I do more reading on the internet these days...