Another way I brace up to abounding foolishness is to visit folks who have admirable goals and who wrap their lives around them. A goal, perhaps the gold-standard of goals, to me is sustainability. Can things done a particular way be passed on for generations with the plot of earth they’re done on remaining no worse for wear?
The Hewitts; Ben, Penny, and their sons Fin and Rye walk this particular talk as much as anyone I know, the bottom line being producing something like 80% of their own food through growing, wild harvesting and barter. They also live in intimate relationship with their surrounding wild lands, deriving food, shelter and fun from same.
Ben is also a really good and prolific writer, and Penny a fine photographer with a lovely tuned personal eye, and all are fine and skilled at crafts, giving the lie to the particular conceit that farmers must be somehow lacking in intelligence, refinement and aesthetics.
Their skills can be seen here: Ben Hewitt Blog
Their photos and writing describe a life that to my mind would be a tonic for much of what ails us these days. Not least on the list would be a childhood with the promise of a rich and varied initiation into adolescence and adulthood, drawn from deep connection with the land.
Seeing the Hewitt life choices, I think many people react thinking it is based on a survivalist mentality and that they must endure hardship and deprivation from the usual societal needs. I can tell you their pleasures are many and varied, and I believe it when they say they would choose this life regardless of perils at large.
I don’t mean to imply there is no hardship or moments of exhaustion in their lives. Reading of blog posts reveals freely admitted thorny paradoxes and an evolving philosophy.
Technology holds out the carrot of an earthly reality that can never be: endless supplies of a magical energy to power itself. The irony is of course that Gaia has it worked out, if we can but merge with it, rather than impose some sort of power-centered, wealth-creating hallucination.
I take heart in watching these guys…
Photos are roughly in order of newer top/earlier bottom: