Today it is storming. After such a settled and warm Autumn, it feels like one of those days where the season really turns the corner.
We have been slowing down and turning more inward as Autumn has progressed, gently our own rhythms reflecting the season. I am reading and crafting more now that the nights are longer and there is just less to do in the garden.
Can I share some words from others I have been reading recently to help me re-engage here in this space?
I'm on my third reading I think of Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto and as always have been appreciating his clarity and vision of the bigger picture.
These are an example of the words that I drink in and feel nourished by:
" ..if we regained a hold on a philosophy that locates meaning where meaning is genuinely to be found - in families, in friends, in the passage of seasons, in nature, in simple ceremonies and rituals, in curiosity, generosity, compassion and service to others, in a decent independence and privacy, in all the free and inexpensive things out of which reall friends, and real communities are built - then we would be so self-sufficient we would not even need the material self-sufficiency which our global experts are so insistent we be concerned about."
It seems I just never tire of his words.
Earlier this week I also read this article, "We have Everything We Need Already: Community Control of Education" by Shilpa Jain, a learning activist with Shikshantar in India, an organisation I have followed over the past few years.
I want to share her words with you here simply because they resonate.
If you have read here for a while you will know we are passionate about our local Timebank. Timebanks are perfect examples of how communities can access a deep well of skills and knowledge right in their own community; they are excellent examples of "having everything we need right now."
Just this week Ruby has been tutored in German by a neighbour, we have stacked firewood for another neighbour and we are about to contact an elderly gentleman this afternoon keen to share his love of classical music with the girls. Learning and sharing freely, multi-generational connections and a wealth of undiscovered gems right in your own neighbourhood.
On stage recently (nothing to do with barefoot running).
And then last night Gunter and I watched The Garbage Warrior again for I think the fourth time.
Watch it if you haven't. Mike Reynolds uplifts us.
What has remained with me from this viewing is Mike criticising a culture in which "we have lost our freedom to fail" and about the necessity of both experimentation and failure to get us (as in individuals aswell as in humanity) to new places. This was on my mind today.
Gunter and I have been experimenting with barefoot running inspired by others in my community of bloggers. I might write about it sometime but anyway it is new and experimental and bringing unexpected discoveries. We went out in the rain today, slowly running in our barefeet. I thought about my freedom to experiment and fail as a woman passed us on the street. I felt my embarrassment as I imagined what she might be thinking and thought about how often it is that people don't try new things because of exactly this reason? As I let go and continued running in the rain along the muddy path in my barefeet, I embraced Mike's enthusiasm for experimentation, whatever the outcome. There is a feeling of freedom about it.
Thanks for allowing me to empty a bit of my brain out onto this page today. The house is finally warm and the girls have friends over - such a small house fills up fast. Gunter has begun preparing dinner and I'm off into the whirl of the pre-dinner clean up.