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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Opting out of the Insanity

If you have followed me here on this blog, or on other media, you probably have seen and read variations of the theme of the illustration to the left before. It's from Adbusters and is one of their "campaigns to reclaim our mental and physical environments." Along with other radical notions, it began in 1992 as the brainchild of a Vancouver artist, was picked up by Adbusters and has been rolling along ever since. I have never been a big consumer and for many years have promoted my personal belief that if you must buy "stuff," used is better. Buy Nothing Day has never been much of a challenge for me. Because of my distaste for the culture of consumption, I have for many years followed the custom of avoiding all unnecessary shopping from Thanksgiving until a week or so after the turn of the calendar. I go to the grocer, if necessary (avoiding the Walmart, and Sams except to pick up prescriptions that can only be had in a 30 day supply) and will buy feed and fuel, but that's about it. While it might make others crazy, there have seldom been reasons in my life to go against this intention. Things the we might could use for the farm or house get put on a list and looked at again in January.

This year I learned about a new campaign #OptOutside, sponsored by REI, the outdoor equipment company that I have used for supplies in the past. So this year, in addition to not shopping the day after Thanksgiving, I was planning to take myself and my walking sticks to one of my favorite wild-ish places, the Central Penjajawoc Preserve off Essex Street in Bangor.  Aislinn Sarnacki wrote about this trail in August in her blog for the Bangor Daily News, Act Out with Aislinn on August 20, 2013. The trail is not open to dogs or bikes, but in the winter, those who ski or snowshoe are welcome.

I was planning an early afternoon amble around the trails (this time wearing proper footgear and with with Nordic Walking Poles). The first time I visited the trail, which wanders through wetlands, it was a spur of the moment thing and I did not have even one of my walking sticks...which would have make the trek much more enjoyable. I was, unfortunately, wearing "town shoes" (which had not been recently waterproofed) and we had been gifted with a recent rain. The trail, while not challenging per se, took on a bit more difficulty as I hopped from rock to tree root, from root to root and worked my way along side the more well-trod trail in a few locations, as I did my best to keep my feet dry.
LARGE tote, lots
-- but not all--
the carrot harvest
However, as often happens, life intervened. Thanksgiving is, for us at least, a harvest festival and (to paraphrase the words of one of my favorite hymns) "all is not safely gathered in (yet) 'ere the winter storms begin." There are still beets and carrots in the garden, despite my best effort yesterday to complete the harvest. Wasn't my fault... when the cart is full, the cart is FULL and I used the large garden cart, too!

Also my turkeys did not put on as much weight as I had expected/hoped, so that of the two processed for Thanksgiving (one for my neighbor/friend/mechanic, one for us) I oped to give away both of the smaller birds and harvest the third for our meal. Fowl is best aged a day or so, and that meant that regardless of anything else, our turkey day would be Friday. Adding in needing to do the balance of harvest... as they say about the best laid plans of humans and rodents...

So, as much as I do love walking in solitude and listening to the natural world around me (with faint traffic sounds in the distance), and even though I expect it to be a nice day and a good "airing" would blow out my cobwebby brain and allow me to return to my painting bench and the hex signs on order from with renewed inspiration, I will have to participate in #OptOutside in a more local, wander to the proto-forest way while my bird cooks for our Thanksgiving celebration, one day late.

I will still encourage those of you who are observing "our crazy American holiday" on the assigned day, to consider this a year to put energy into connecting with people, with doing (rather than buying) and in general join me to #OptOutOfTheInsanity.