“Why would you ever want to ____?”
I get this question all the time, so feel free. Fill in the blank. How about “..drink water spilt off your roof?” Or “…run low on electricity?” Or the hands-down favorite, “….empty sloshing buckets of pooh?”
Some, including myself at times, probably wonder if I’m insane. Maybe so. But this wintry spring, I’m learning one thing. I’m not nearly as insane as I’m going to be. Or could be, if I learned from my teacher: Home the Land Built.
I mean, here it comes, yet another mega-snowstorm in the coldest, cruelest “spring” I can recall---and that’s saying a lot for a lifelong Minnesotan---and what’s going on about Home the Land Built: a celebration of life and light. Never mind the frozen pond, I see ducks splashing in the frigid inrushing melt-waters. Never mind the ice-crusted prairie, I see little kestrel hawk flap, flap, flapping his wing as he hovers in search of what?
And then, yesterday, while a stiff northerly slapped our cheeks, flock upon migrating flock of juncos--but a thumb with wings---flushed out of the prairie and across the driveway for ten solid minutes. I couldn’t help but imagine the warmer, sunnier climbs they’d vacated to arrive here, now, in this endless April Fool of a spring. And junco isn’t stopping here. He’s going all the way to the arctic.
Then there’s robin. Dozens of them bob, bob, bobbing along in the punky yard, pecking morosely, for what? What are they finding to eat? Worms don’t wiggle well in ice. But it’s not just the birds.
Even Home the Land Built itself is going insane. Since the cold snap began in February, I haven’t started the backup generator once. Not even close to needing it. We’re toasty inside. A sunny day, no matter how cold, warms us to a shirt-sleeve 75F. And most of that extra heat is coming not from the passive solar windows---the 2.5 foot overhang already blocks most of the high-angled sun---but from excess solar hot water pumped through the concrete floor.
And today’s storm, raw as it was, managed to squeeze out rain rather snow, rain which we joyously harvested. Hurrah! The long, rain-harvest drought of winter is ended. And yes, when I emptied the toilet buckets into the Humanure Hacienda, the hay-covered compost actually raked away. Thawed, if you believe it. No Celtic priestess ever danced so at the arrival of light! This, all of this, as an April mega-snowstorm bears down.
If insanity means “Follow the light to whatever end”, then I couldn’t have found a more insane teacher than Home the Land Built. So, just to honor my teacher, I donned a heavy jacket, strode out into the raw, spring-lit elements and flung handfuls of prairie seed onto mucky, ice-crusted gopher mounds. Why? Because it felt great! It felt great to join the splashing ducks, the hovering kestrel, and the arctic-bound juncos. It felt great to join the energized solar panels, the guzzling cistern, even the sighing compost heap. The celebration of the insane. In spite of all evidence to the contrary, we say ”spring is here!”
On May 4, 2011, as I puzzled over my first Rah-dur blog entry, I realized I wanted a purpose-driven subtitle. “Leave old job. Leave old home. Enter new home. Engage new life. Maintain what matters.” Looking back, I had no idea what “engage new life” might come to mean. I’m beginning to feel like the crew, or perhaps Starship Enterprise herself, when Captain Picard points his challenging finger toward the stars and utters, “Engage!” Or maybe I’m like Captain Picard himself when confronted by the omnipotent being Que. “It’s not about charting nebula,” Que shrugs. “It’s about exploring the unfathomable reaches of existence.” Hail to Que and Home the Land Built: Insanity’s Teachers.