Two weeks ago, I was the slightly disgruntled resident of a wet, cold, snowy canvas tent, fixing up trails and composting privy waste somewhere in the Pemigawasset Wilderness of northern New Hampshire. Today, I am the contentedly pleased resident of the DAcres Shanty - a fixed-up toolshed that offers a new definition of "drafty" - immersed in the fall harvest, chiding at chickens. The only fixin' I'm doing is eyeing up my next pig riding session.
I first lived at DAcres this past spring, when the snow was beginning to melt and the approaching summer inspired long hours and hard work. Now it's autumn and the unknown of winter is inciting a flurry of preparation. The pace is slower, and the work different; regardless of the season, though, we are continually preparing for the next.
With temperatures brisk and daylight diminishing rapidly, no hour is to be wasted. A stone wall is soon to be completed around the silo; 212 lbs of carrots were harvested Tuesday morning alone; the basement is almost filled with winter wood; the pigs are still to be fed, the oxen walked. And, of course, potlucks and art presentations, food preservation workshops and open mics continue. This Sunday 10/26, for example, is Volunteer Day, a chance for folks to head to DAcres and dirty their hands; there's a fermentation workshop 1-3pm, and also a potluck 6-9pm with a presentation by the political arts group The Beehive Design Collective - y'all should come out for this, now. Seriously.
Winter, challenging for the cold and the snow, does, however, provide more time for play. As residents here, we're no doubt a small community of quirky yet competant characters. Life, work, and play overlap in a fairly narrow fashion. Translation: never a dull moment. From nonsensical dinner conversations to the grunts of hardwork that suffice for communication; to reading Harry Potter out loud and playing beats in the basement; to french lessons and foam-dome eco-home house warmings; we appear to have a lock-down on the entertainment sector.
All this is why I am so contentedly residing in my well-chilled Shanty. An invigorating and rewarding rhythm to life, yes it is; and a rhythm steeped in community.
But not a community so insular as to forget the issues of the larger whole with which we are connected. Which currently means: folks, we have a Presidential election on our hands! Yes, I think Obama is the best choice we have; yes, I think it's ok that our POTUS is not Joe Schmoe nor can fix the oval office plumbing. No, Obama's not the Revolution, but what's the other option? I used to be a figure skater and am not particularly impressed with Hockey Moms. My opinions aside, though, please do not be passive. Make a choice. Vote. But don't be content with that alone. Your vote is not just about one (at least 2/3 detached) chad on one November day; your vote is each choice you do and don't make, each action of your daily life.
As we learned in french class this week: courage de décider
Courage to choose.
If you're not sure where to start, try this:
Resist much. Obey little. --Walt Whitman