Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Train goin’ by

It was rainy and dreary this morning, the result of a persistent low-pressure system that’s been located over Maine for the entire summer. It was fifteen degrees colder than usual today, and more rain is expected all week. According to our meteorologist, it’s because of the consistent high pressure located over Oklahoma and the central US, which has been forcing all of the precipitation north. We’ve had eighteen more inches of rain than normal since the first of June.

Good for the crops, perhaps—I’ve had three ripe tomatoes already, more than my family in Chattanooga—but bad for my sun deficiency. I feel dumb always complaining about it, but the fact remains that I’m constantly living at a twenty-degree deficit up here. So why do I live up here? It’s a compromise. This area is one of few in the country where I can live at my income level.

The ironic thing is that my laundry is hanging on the line. I’m reading Old Maine Woman by Glenna Smith, an Aroostook County writer I met recently, a brilliant book about the way things really used to be. Her mom did laundry every Monday, no matter the weather forecast. Didn’t your grandma? I figured I could do the same. They’ll hang out there until they dry, I suppose. My grandma didn’t have to contend with climate change.

The garden’s going full-bore, producing faster than I can figure out ways to preserve, which I keep telling myself is a good problem to have. I spent all weekend with a group of friends, artists and homesteaders. Somehow I have managed to find a brilliant community of like-minded people. I keep quoting this article from the editor of Mother Earth News, who says rather than the doomsday attitude most environmentalists have, we need to envision the future we want, to envision success if we’re to achieve it.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about that. If we want to change the world, how do we actually go about that, practically? What’s the first small step? How can I be the change I wish to see? I just keep thinking about community models that can be replicated. I know it’s idealistic, and ambitious, but if we don't have idealism and ambition, we’ll never achieve success.

It’s not just rain that’s getting me down. Every time I hear the news, the political bickering, reports from the corporate hegemony, I become a little more frustrated by the paralysis of the people. We can take back our country, we can take back our world. We just have to do it a little bit at a time.


Emily Franklin said...

With preserving and eating your own produce and using clothes lines, You are taking back your world a little at a time. I think we all could use a little creativity about the situation and less wanting something that is gone at least for now.
There are probably more communities of like minded people 'doing their own thing' but the news/ word doesn't get to the main stream. you have to really look for them.

Melissa said...

I completely agree with you, Emily. It's hard to believe that with all of us doing a little bit at a time that it could actually make a difference, but in truth I believe it's the only thing that'll ever make a difference. Creativity is exactly what we need, and ambition. I heard a democratic congresswoman on the radio the other day, complaining about cuts to the heating oil program. It's not that I believe we need poor people to freeze to death, but why can't we used creativity to solve that problem rather than more subsidies to a dying industry.

It's just a case in point. We can take our world back, and we're all doing it, slowly but surely.