After an evening of dealing poker (yes, Another, part time job) I joined the fire outside, table put away, chips locked up and shift over. Standing around, most the people with a can of domestic beer in hand, enjoyed the unlikely pleasant October weather. All of them I have known for years and could have followed any of a dozen conversations about the fire. My conversation how ever went to my friend Joe. He and I talked about my rather shocking lack of firewood as of yet and other details of the little cabin. In his 80’s Joe is one of the most generous men I have never met and he suggested I go up and check out his “junk yard”. “…up the hill and past the old trailer, see what you find,” he said with a smile and a chuckle. Today I will be heading up and see what gift he has in mind to put towards my projects.
After he stepped back inside to get himself another Kokanee a man I have known for several years gave me an odd look. “You really are doing it aren’t you?” he said with a very perplexed tone.
“The off grid thing. You are seriously going to do it. You truly want to.”
“Yes. I am seriously doing it and yes,I actually want to.”
Why is a good question. It is a question that anyone who is thinking about stepping away from the grid needs to truly think about. There is always a very romanticised approach to off grid living, the tiny house movement and even home-school. All these things I do and while I happy with each choice not everyone is going to be.
So why have I made this choice? Firstly and beyond most peoples choice is the fact that the older I get the more sensitive to chemicals of all sorts I must get further from them. That however, is not enough to make a person love the life style. I truly believe that it is a spiritual need to know the sound of the forest, to seek to give back to a suffering planet and to stop being part of the abuse. A person can not wave their banners, and stomp their feet expecting things to change if they leave their starbucks cup on the side walk, drive their SUV back too their suburban house, turn on the sprinklers to water the lawn and watch fox new while they microwave dinner. For those that don’t know how to start making a shift it starts with little things and a simple awareness of the world around you.
It is beyond choice to me at this point. To be a part of that system is painful to me both physically and spiritually. We do not need to burn coal, we do not need to pull oil from the earth, we do not need to rush from task to task with the white noise of hate mongers and false wars being made into nothing but ratings. We can be good to each other and to Gia and still have lights that turn on, internet to connect us, music of a thousand genres at a touch of a button, the freedom to travel around the world or even just down the road to visit a neighbour.
Every piece of food you put in your mouth, every piece of clothes, every square foot of space you occupy is a choice. If you are reading this blog you are aware, at least on some level, that there is another way of doing things. If more people stepped off grid without becoming hermits and cut off from the world it would become easier for others to do so as well. When my sister comes out to show her nephews that there is a place where there is neither cell service or flushing toilets it changes his awareness just a little. So when people ask me why my answer is not all this, or nearly so long. I simply say
“Because I can; because its right for me.”
It is not right for everyone or sadly not obtainable for what ever reason but if you cant take that leap at least try to be aware, support laws that help others to do it, stand up for them. From gardens in the front yard, to solar panels, rain barrels to backyard chickens, all of this under pressure to be denied to all with the stroke of a pen from corrupt or simply ignorant governments. When I mention laws and the ever building move against off grid, sustainable, and the first steps towards either, people often ask me if I vote and what party do I belong to. I vote at local government levels, I attend town councils meeting and if the laws did not deny me I would likely run for the council. I vote for the sheriff, I vote for the governor, but do I vote on a national level? No. I do not. I do not, because not only does my vote mean nothing, it is not who votes that matters but who counts the votes. I will not vote for someone I do not believe is being handled or controlled by greed. The “party” I follow is Ubuntu. If you do not know what that means it is time you learn. Take the time to learn and consider it, to imagine a world that we could have with such a shift of focus. http://www.ubuntuparty.org.za/p/about.html