For me community used to mean the people in the town or county in which i live, but now the definition has changed from that of a place (noun), to include its action as a verb. I am working at community instead of occupying space in one. I am reaching out into the space that i occupy and am actively creating community. The difference has been illuminating to say the least. When i hear of someone in my community that needs help- i immediately think of ways i can help and act on those ideas. If i am the one in need i put that need out to the community. It seems simple right? It has taken me a while though to understand that true sustainability and resiliency comes from the support of those with similar goals that create a diverse guild of people. (If you aren't familiar with the permaculture use of the word guild: a group of plants, trees, insects, animals that when brought together, work as a self supporting unit. Just reword it to include a diverse group of people working together to support one another in community.)
Those of us trying to be self sufficient think that means "without anyone else's help". That, my friends, is close to impossible and takes so much work that we often end up feeling overwhelmed, tired and alone. The word permaculture has changed the way i see the world and what living in that world looks like. Its a philosophy of living that goes beyond gardening, it points to the observation of natural systems and how those systems can be mimicked to change the way we do things for the betterment of all. Nothing in nature stands alone, and if we all understand that and live it- How much better off would we all be?
Did you ever read the book the hundredth monkey? If you haven't you should. The ideas presented are important to the idea of sustainability, or at least the propagation of sustainability. It is the ahha book that reinforces the idea that you don't have to go out and drag people to your cause if thats not your thing. You just have to be the change you want to see. Yea yea I know you've heard it all before, and being a person who needs to see the proof in action or at least explained in scientific terms that make me feel sane i'll give you this quote to ponder.
"When a large number of molecules congregate in close proximity, the random motions of the billions and billions of molecules will at some point show a sudden alteration in behavior; all of them will start to spontaneously synchronize. They begin to move and vibrate together. They begin acting in concert, actively cooperating, and become tightly coupled together into one, interacting whole exhibiting a collective, macroscopically ordered state of being."
-The Secret Teachings of Plants, By Stephen Harrod Buhner.
Of course this book shouts the warning of the examination of things in pieces, remove something from the whole and you screw up the picture. Though he does say you can go through his book in any order you like, I'm sure he would agree that you should read this book in its entirety. Eventually.
So onto the point which is stop waiting for a good time to grow that first food plant, make that first loaf of bread, or ferment your first batch of yogurt. Jump in now, and possibly be the hundredth monkey (or molecule) and I think if you do you may feel the world around you moving toward a "macroscopically ordered state of being".....
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.