Ed Abbey once wrote: "Very well. If there's anyone still present whom I've failed to insult, I apologize."
Writers can get into trouble sometimes. Especially Writers with a point of view. A phone call this weekend made that apparent to me. It was from a local woman inviting Joni and me to a workshop on natural building. This person said she read my blogs. Then a dead silence ensued.
I sometimes write about the people on the Ridge. All of them fine, fine humans who have that special eccentricity to make them want to live "off the grid". I sometimes write about people different than me in (what I think) are light hearted terms. And so you will find the occasional diatribe about Rednecks, Potheads, Apocalyptic Christians, Adventists, Rastafarians, Weekenders and all the others who live in my corner of the world.
I write from a perspective of affection. I love the diversity that is my home. Even when I'm opposed to having bulldozers on the Ridge. Or neighbors who fence off their entire property.
Many of these neighbors (who differ from me) have been such kind people to us. One neighbor graciously brings us bread and produce from his garden. Others show a bit of fear of us. We try to be neighborly. Joni takes a neighbor's kids to and from school because their car is on the blink right now. But perhaps we could be more neighborly. More kind. More friendly. We try.
I have a point of view. In moving to this place I wanted to try to live up to my values. I wanted to build something that was close to the Earth. Natural. Using mostly human power. I wanted to move here to experiment (and get ideas about) how humans and wildlife can co-exist; which is why we don't fence off our property (in order to let the deer and other critters have their right to roam continue).
This blog isn't widely read. But should someone stumble upon it who might say: "Hey, I know that guy!" Try not to be too offended. Read on. Take it with a grain of salt. I'm just trying to make sense of this new and different world.
And I have some core beliefs which make me a pain in the ass sometimes. Amongst them are:
1. People have the right to roam.
2. Animals have the right to roam.
3. Properties have rights. Yes, I'm for Property Rights! That land you build your homestead on has the right to be treated kindly. Just owning a part of the Earth doesn't give anyone the right to despoil it.
4. All development done on this Ridge should not interfere with its natural, beautiful purpose. All critters (whether bear, mountain lion, rattlesnake or gopher) are our neighbors. We should use only what we need--and not build little castles to ourselves. No personal Fiefdoms. At the very least, half of the property should be left alone. Migration corridors need to be respected. All trash picked up. Livestock should be protected from predators by non-lethal means; they should be protected by reasonable fencing, barns at night, guard dogs and simple shepherding.
5. Religion (with its humanocentric worldview) often gets in the way of actually living peacefully with the Earth and the Earth's other beings.
6. We should be Social with everything: humans, plants, critters, birds, bugs, dirt, rocks--all of God's creation. In simplest form it is called: Ecosocialism.
So if I've offended anyone: I apologize. Stop by and say "Hi" sometime. Let's talk.