It's no longer out to the suburbs! That was the last land rush — about 50 or 60 years ago.
This time the movement is out of the city, past the suburbs and on out to the wild country — out past the agribusinesses and the tree farms, past the tourist spots and on up into the those places where the laws of nature still rule.
This is where the NEW HOMESTEADERS are headed. It's Back-to-the-land all over again, but these are not the same romantic rural rustics of the 1960's and 70's. This is a new type of "connected homesteader" — a person connected with society and the world (often electronically) while being grounded in the land under their feet.
New Homesteaders want a new relationship with nature. Sure, they're leaving to get away from crime, traffic and overcrowding, but they are also powerfully motivated by a desire for an independent lifestyle in a place where nature creates the environment rather than man. They want to understand nature and their place in it. That's why they come to places where nature is still healthy and alive — not something sprayed on the dirt after the bulldozers are gone.
Into this established ecosystem the New Homesteaders come. Not to be lord and master and demand everything for themselves, but to work out a new arrangement. A new understanding of their place in the world and what their true purpose there might be.
The New Homesteaders come to knit themselves BACK INTO the web of life, to learn from and evolve their personal relationship with what is ALREADY alive and expressing itself on this their patch of planetary surface.
Yet, New Homesteaders are not just politically correct Eco-souls who walk softly and leave nothing but footprints. These are people who know that true involvement with nature means more than giving money to Save the Whales or recycling their paper bags.
A New Homesteader is looking for a new understanding of nature — and an active, alive relationship.
Nature is not some delicate fragile thing that must be put behind museum glass in order to survive. Nature is robust, alive and ready for action. She is always changing and will not be held down. She accepts everything we give her without judgment and sets immediately to work turning it into fodder for the re-creation of life. Organic waste she turns quickly into compost for worms and seedlings. Plastic milk jugs and plutonium will take a bit longer, but all is accepted, and all will be returned to us without judgment.
Nature teaches us the perspective of unsentimental openness. Nature lives in the NOW, making choices in present time with what is really here before us. No grudges about the past, no hopes or expectations of the future, only the totally alive here and now. This is what the New Homesteader has come to understand. This is the web of life they have come to be a part of.
Parco dei Mostri. Bomarzo, Italy.
photo courtesy Philip Greenspun
Birds will nest in the ruins of your creations. Moss will grow over your art. Worms will gracefully trace arcs across the surface of your bones. This is as it should be. Specific life forms come and go, the things we build come and go, but the life force energy will be here forever. Nature doesn't judge — she doesn't have to. She doesn't ask you to protect her. She can take care of herself. She will ultimately prevail even over those who would thoughtlessly destroy her creations. What she constantly affirms is life.
Nature is about making a life out of what you find in front of you — Everything is just compost for life!
She is ready now, out on the floor swaying to the dance of life. Don't be shy. She has already forgiven you. She is calling you, urging you to loosen up the judgments and feel the music. All nature asks is for a responsible energetic partner to step with her out onto the dance floor. She will teach you the rest.
Are you ready to BOOGIE?
It's not like we've NEVER known how to make this connection with the natural life-force. Most ancient, long-lasting cultures have worked this out before. However, Western European, and especially American culture has forgotten or ignored much of this wisdom.