I honestly live in the silliest place in the world. It is also one of the sweetest, if you avoid the politics which are absurd to the point of cruelty. And, it is very very beautiful. And silly. Oh, I did say that. I should say it again. Very sweet and humble and silly and human.
I also think it is a model for the future. This is a place where the great god commerce is not allowed to pace and growl and subsume everything in its path. In fact, commerce greets a committee of furious 70-year-olds who have an even more intricate grasp of regulatory structure than any big city lawyer. The lawyers who are certain they can overwhelm any hick hippie usually end slinking off, holding various injured parts of their bodies, their eyes filled with hurt and confusion, with $1,000,000 lost to said regulatory structure. We know how to make money here, no doubt. It’s just not in the time-honored way.
This morning I received a message about some artisan firewood for sale. We had a crashingly lovely windstorm at Christmas which left many of us huddled around our propane stoves and fireplaces, barbequing turkeys, the racket of a generator deafening the quarrels, I mean carols, and trying not to die. The wood that fell is now for sale. It is special. Very special. And specially expensive. Hello? Labor?
This is windstorm firewood! It was manifested and air dried by the wind gods themselves! It should be more expensive! It will be more expensive! The price for ‘windstorm’ firewood is probably going to be somewhere around 1.75X regularly priced firewood that is itself already 2X’ish what it should probably cost. You do the math…..
But really the reason this place is special is not because our leaders are lethal manipulators of the body politic not to mention, hold off capitalism, it is because of the kids who are coming here to start new lives. They want to bake and grow. They want to farm. They want to live in sweet little cottages, raise a family and work the land using permaculture and no toxic substances and well let’s hear from one of them:
“We see different things crumbling around us and we want to prop them back up and create something beautiful . . . Once that’s started, [we] realize how healing and grounding it is to be involved in those natural cycles and to be aware of when the rain is coming and be excited about it. Having dirt under the fingernails all the time is a pretty good feeling,” said Milo Stuart, another young farmer working on the island.
This place, Saltspring Island, used to provide the whole province with fruit back in the day before industrial farming. The region around the island is lush and pleasant and fertile. All the way up to Whistler, young people are spreading out like kudzu (only in a good way) changing the culture from within.
“It’s super fun for me as a farmer to be able to see what’s happening on farms all over the world via Instagram,” Stuart said. “You’re getting ready to get going for the season and somewhere in Australia they are fully into it and doing something completely different. You almost get to go back and forth in time that way. There’s a camaraderie in it and it is super inspiring to see the movement happening actively.”
You can laugh at them now all you like. But admit the superculture out there is not getting tamer, it is getting more lethal and complex every day. Maybe it’s the better part of valor just to learn how to build a fence. Why bother to wait till some dreadful vulture capitalist outfit spits you out like so much rotten meat and you are left with a nervous breakdown and an addiction to painkillers?
“When I look at it, I’m most proud of the big things. I see the whole yard that’s fenced and I remember pounding all of the posts and that gives me a lot of pride. I never knew how to do that, and I never even thought of how a person would put up a fence. It kind of amazes me that we did that,” she said.”