Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 144: A Concow Apology...

More mud work. Done in this very unseasonable, cold, cold weather.

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.


Ian Woofenden said...

Yo Allan,

In a fundamental way , I find your views to be incompatible with neighborliness, since your desire is to impose your views on others, but you don't want their views imposed on you.

This inconsistency really doesn't work ultimately -- it leads to conflict, and then to corruption, and in the end, to war. Being truly neighborly, to me, means giving your neighbors as much freedom to apply their views to their own lives as you want to have yourself.


Ian, who is catching up on your blog while waiting for an airplane back to the states.

Anonymous said...

Well put Ian. It is one thing to be outspoken and and opinionated. It is entirely another to berate and make fun of your neighbors in a public forum. Not to mention the outright lies that are stated as if they were fact.

Allan you state your opinions as if they are law; when in fact a few of them are in conflict with the law. I think the most obvious is (and I know this may come as a shock to you but..) you do NOT have the right to wander wherever you please no matter how much you think that is how it should be. There is such a thing as private property, and the LAWS regarding it need to be respected.

You are allowed to have all the narrow minded, one sided and blindy liberal views you want but it doesnt change the laws in the land that you reside.

Seriously.... You piss me off ALMOST as much as Bill O'Reilly.

Thanks and have a nice day!

Allan Stellar said...

Hi Ian,

Hope you had a safe flight back to the States. And I loved your book.

Neighbors? I think we need to expand what and who we consider our neighbors to be. I include animals, plants and minerals to be my neighbors too. These should not be overlooked. As I said: Property has Rights... :)


Bill O'Reilly? Really?

I think if you read this blog on a consistent basis, you will see me berate other sacred cows too (including myself!). And you will also read some positive things I have to say about the decent and colorful people who inhabit my world.

Description need not be pejorative. I'm sorry if it gets interpreted that way.

As for lies? I may be misinformed, opinionated, jump to conclusions, stereotypical, ignorant, wrong, exagerative, speculative, draw the wrong conclusions---but I try not to lie. And the comments section is always open to take exception to what I write. :)

Thanks for the feedback...


Stickumrounds aka "anonymous" said...

I retract my statement about "lies" being that you are not writing a newspaper or press article you are not required to source, scrutinize or cite your information.

I also apologize for the bill o'reilly comment that was just mean.

I have read many interesting and positive things in your blog since stumbling upon it and I do realize that most of it is light hearted.

Don't think you are the only one that respects the land and all of it's inhabitants. But I have to ask, how does willfully tresspassing on property you know to be private benefit anyone or thing other than yourself? How does this show respect for the land and it's owners or inhabitants? It would seem to me that what you are doing and teaching is how to snoop into the private affairs of people who may not appreciate it. Have you ever thought to ask permission to continually trespass on private property?

On the same note, what happens when you run into a drunk angry redneck with a gun and a shovel who doesn't think your quips or light hearted explanation of your presence is very amusing? Unfortunately there are many people who don't like to resolve their differences with words and have even less respect than you do for the law.

My apologies for my grammar and spelling I am writing this on a keyboard that is about 2.5" across and it's hard to keep it all in order ;)

I look forward to the debate!

Allan Stellar said...

Hi Stickum...

I don't trespass. Simple as that. I walk on country roads that have public access. When I come across a sign that forbids me from entering a property, I get permission from the owner. :)

I'm not foolish.

I do wish we had laws similar to Europe that have long and noble walking cultures. England is a good case in point with their sacred "Right to Roam" laws. Landowners cannot stop walkers from walking on a path that has been used even once (and documented) in the last year. This public access goes back to the Manchester Rambler, a commie who got arrested in the Great Trespass in the 30's that opened up a large section of land for recreational use and kicked off England's National Park movement. Can't remember his name right now..

As for running across a guy with a "gun and a shovel"? I hope that never happens...but do know they are out there.



Ian Woofenden said...

Hi Allan,

The issue i have is that you seem to want to impose YOUR concept of who the neighbors are on the neighbors. I have no problem with YOU thinking that lichens and rocks and beavers are equal with human neighbors. But when you seem to want to impose your definition on others, you lose me. What is different in that than your "redneck" neighbors imposing on you that lichens are 4WD fodder? There is NO difference, in my opinion -- just two people trying to force their views on others.

Tolerance is a very high value to me, and I too often see people trashing it in the name of other "values" -- but in the end, I think without tolerance, the other values are nothing more than a front for despotism, control, and subjugation of others.

Heavy stuff -- but I'm smiling. ;-)

Thanks much for your fine book messages. I WANT your review on Amazon and elsewhere, just haven't had time to respond and encourage you.



Allan Stellar said...

Hey Ian,

I get your point. And using such bombastic terms (such as I use sometimes) certainly can put fuel on the fire. Good for firey discussions, but I'm not sure if anything happens in the long run. It becomes a them versus us. Nobody wins. Everybody loses.

I'll try and be a bit more mature... :)

I figured you've been busy lately (or maybe shy about praise?). Don't know if I can do your book justice, but will give it a go at some point.