It’s everywhere. You can’t turn on a screen, listen to a station, tune into a YouTube channel or scroll a blog without seeing it. Fear, confusion, sadness and uncertainty all fill the minds of most, and whether you believe the media is a machine and the government is out to for control, or the organizations with information are trustworthy and will make you safe, one thing is certain: we must get in touch with our lost senses.
A personal fault of mine (which has come in handy these days) is my entire willingness to be distant socially. My circle is small and I like it that way. However, homesteading has taught me just how important and powerful a sense of community (or lack thereof) is. It is empowering to be able to supply locally grown resources to those who support our farm and to share with others who are pursuing similar adventures. In times like these, community is what can pull us through when we would otherwise fall apart. A sense of community affords opportunity if the grid goes down, if the government response fails, if there are shortages of food or restricted access to and from cities, and even in crisis. It has been the sense of community that has built provinces, states, villages, tribes and nations.
I have long wondered how we lost this. When did we give up that notion of community for nights on our phones and meals on the couch? When did we lose our sense of wonder with the world that drove us to fires with friends and neighbours, wiener roasts and birthday parties full of not only kids, but their parents who brought food for a potluck, leaving an array of abundance spread across tables and counters? This has all really raged forth our loss of this sense as well. Kids stuck to their screens have lost their wonder of the world, their connection to the planet let alone our food. Every time I catch my children in the garden holding worm conventions and decorating sticks or filling jars with feathers, I am set alight with pride and reminded of fond memories doing the same. Perhaps all this will allow us to reconnect to our own sense of wonder.
While I will admit to being forever changed by this event, to sometimes losing myself in the tension and worry, I see this as a tipping point for our society and world. We can continue, head down, not knowing the needs of the neighbour let alone the street, buying from big box stores who will never know our name, or we can revive local economies, built to survive the large collapse an event like this can initiate. These local economies can thrive without banks, without government intervention or stimulus packages; they are built on community exchange, of lending a helping hand, giving and receiving as the times demand. They are more immune to the chaos that can arise from uncertainty, knowing those nearby will fill gaps and pantries, clean out pipes and fix vehicles as needed in rough times.
I believe this will drive people back to knowing their neighbour, supporting local businesses, and creating gatherings of abundance and joy. I also believe it will initiate a movement of independence, with homesteaders popping up in apartments, filling their decks with pots and plants, in cities where lawns will be replaced with beautiful raised beds filled with edible greens, on rooftops buzzing with bees and solar panels, on small acreages with two goats or some rabbits, or on quarter sections with sustainable grain production for pasture raised poultry and waterfowl and acres of natural grasses, growing hay for grass fed beef.
Take this time to find what lifts you, what brings you peace and joy, what you love. I know there’s stress, people wondering how they will make their bills or feed their children, worried about immune compromised family members, but it is absolutely imperative you find a light, something you love to do, a stopgap for your mind to keep you out of that repetitive cycle that will only stress your body’s immune system. Use this as an opportunity to take back your lost senses and rediscover who you are.