This is a COMMENT to my post from yesterdayÂ (The People of the Forest Save the Forest.) It got long as a comment so here it is on the front page. This photo captures me running my mouth during the panel discussion after the movie, A Fierce Green Fire, that sparked the conversation in this and the previous blog post.
I don’t know, in yesterday’s ramble about our broken relationships to nature and place, if I was offering guideposts towards a kinder, gentler, more eco-responsible future as much as I’m looking back at where we’ve all made wrong turns–individually and collectively–that have lead to the Great Divorce.
Eco-apathy, culturally-nurtured myopia (eyes bigger than our planet’s pantry), and shinier toys have brought us exactly here.
And yet my here–this bucolic backwater of Floyd County–is a place where many of us intentionally retreated to achieve just this kind of personal rewilding.
And even here, we Â struggle with the disconnect between our values and the practice of our lives. Yet, it seems like we are onto a not-quite-yet-attainable something.
I think a good bit lately about Paul Kingsnorth’s advice to withdraw from the angst of global activism to cut this gordian knot. Maybe we are near the point where we finally confess it cannot be cut in our lifetimes or perhaps the lifetime of “modern civilization.” Then what?
If we concede the war, what will our battles look like? If we choose to take the best action in our personal present in light of what we know, what would that action look like?
Some of that work on the ground looks like what is happening in Floyd with efforts to localize the food system, so I am gratified to be a part of that, at least. That seems like a push-back against the darkness.
Meanwhile, we’ll sit back and coexist with our acknowledged disconnect, day to day wandering nowhere in particular, cogs (that we are unwilling makes little difference) in the machinery of the failed democracy and failed economic turnings that have brought us this far towards the edge of business-as-usual.
I keep hearing Forest Gump say: “I just start-ed run-ning” when confronted with an emotional burden too large to bear standing still.Â [The video clip of Forest’s ” long run” is still one of my favorites.]
I guess I just start-ed writ-ing.
I’ve reached the ocean quite a few times since 2002. I just turn around and run back the way I came. I’m sorry I can’t tell you where we’re go-ing. But I am happy to have a few bearded and bedraggled companions hanging on here at Fragments from Floyd to share the journey.
FromÂ Paul Kingsnorth,Â “40 days: The Productivity of Retreat.”
Withdraw not with cynicism, but with a questing mind.
Withdraw so that you can allow yourself to sit back quietly and feel, intuit, work out what is right for you and what nature might need from you.
Withdraw because refusing to help the machine advance–refusing to tighten the ratchet further–is a deeply moral position.
Withdraw because action is not always more effective than inaction.
Withdraw to examine your worldview: the cosmology, the paradigm, the assumptions, the direction of travel. All real change starts with withdrawal.