A story of love, food and finding our way home
I agree with Matt, the ‘off grid’ YouTubers have long since proved that without large amounts of land, dosh and balls it’s not really an option. I was fascinated by the forager who boiled Amanita muscaria twelve times to remove the poison in order to make sushi with it. My gas bill would be a shocker if I did that! This is a lovely heart warming read and I’ve just bought Hospicing Modernity. Thank you for the light.
I really love this concept. When I read the piece you shared from Vanessa in your book something really clicked in me, I don't want the off-grid dream anymore, I just want a real community.
Very nice piece Dougald. I like what you say about the slightly privileged and unrealistic dimension of the off-grid 'dream'. Running away seems increasingly self indulgent in a World with (sadly) less and less places to run to and the ambivalent impact the 'running away' will have on any remaining quiet areas. I need to get a copy of the Hospicing Modernity book (and your book). All the best ...
It’s amazing how often I read essays and ideas that neglect to include home, one’s own privilege, or the partner in the background who co-created many of the ideas that are being expressed. Like Isabelle I no longer want to escape to the Mountains to live off-grid. Nor do I have the desire to win at the game of collapse or apocalypse. I want to minimize my impact on the environment around me and be part of a community of like minded people working at a community scale to rethink how we live and consume. The only game I care to play is called “Everybody Wins, or Everybody Loses.”
Lovely essay and thank you for your part in the creation of Dark Mountain which is one of the few places my partner and I have found where we feel a sense of both Home and Community.
Lovely piece. It’s put me in a quiet space, remembering past gatherings and meals and conversations. Food and community are the stuff of this work.
I experienced this read as a potently quiet comfort. It was the first thing I read after having awoken from a liminal state which was both dream and contemplation. Something in me, which I met in my dream-contemplation, wanted to write an alphabet book, with each chapter beginning with a letter in the alphabet ... A, B, C, D.... A would be for apple. And I'd write about apples and about Johnny Appleseed... and so on through the alphabet. The key was to let pleasure in writing and reading take the lead, rather than any other agenda ... like changing the world.
As I read this essay I knew it confirmed my need to let pleasure take the lead in my writing more--at least sometimes. So I decided to write my pleasurable alphabet book of essays, just for the pleasure in it. But also as medicine for my weary soul.
There is a resonance here which ties my dream-contemplation with this particular kitchen table, the apple trees, the old shoe shop, and the need to literally ground culture in local place and rooted traditions of conviviality. Conviviality, after all, is nothing if not pleasurable. Pleasure in the immediate, the local, the right here, the grounded, the literally rooted which becomes food borne of soil and sunlight.