Jul 5, 2010

Long Ride Home to Local Activism

Ten days of total devotion to global activism, political solidarity. Ten nights of childless sleep, waking up astonished each morning that it was already light and I've slept the entire night. How does one return from such an orgy of grown-up, activist Me time?

It starts with a 13-hour overnight Greyhound bus ride, filled with restless sleep and truck-stop junk food. My seat mate's on his way to trucking school in Iowa, and shares in great detail how he lost his teeth in Iraq, how his $2,000 income last year forced him to move back home with his mom after his surprising divorce, and how excited he is by finally being on the verge of realizing his dream of driving 28-days straight then 3-nights home at his mom's. When I share my own travel stories and 7 years with Habitat for Humanity, he's happy to find that we have that in common - he worked with Habitat while serving a jail sentence. As different as our worlds are, I truly enjoy this kind of genuine connection that only seems to happen at 2am in Northern Michigan. And the shift in societal consciousness we were striving for in Toronto has to be built upon an understanding and true connection like this.

My inlaws deliver Galen and Zekiah to me at the Chicago Amtrak station. As the children melt into my arms and explode with stories of their beautiful time connecting with grandparents and uncles, I feel Home already. Nothing remaining but 55 hours of reconnecting with these beautiful children, enjoying the vast changing landscape of America, sharing food and card games with people of all ages and walks of life.

This total of 94 hours of bus-train-plane-ferry to attend the G8 has saved money, created quality connections, and provided beautiful bonding time with the boys. It has also minimized (though by no means eliminated) the carbon footprint of being part of an historic event that I judged worthy of that investment of emissions, time, money and life energy. This conscious choice lends integrity to my participation in climate change rallies. Of all the wise and witty contributions I tried to make in those 10 days, the most impactful were "I travelled 94 hours to get here" and "I am a farmer."

When Sarah scoops us into her loving hungry arms in Victoria and brings us home to Wildside Farm, we feel complete. Together as a family we rush out back to check on the peonies, blueberries and cows - the three things the boys have been most eager about the whole trip. Emails and picture books and fridge treats can wait - we all instinctively need to walk barefoot on our land, to reconnect with our place in the natural world and our part in the food production chain.

That busy explosive week of G8 activism has put back into perspective the local activism that makes my every day meaningful. Raising healthy conscious children. Growing and sharing organic food. Continually learning and modeling ways to reduce our family's material consumption and energy use. Applying my community development skills at a local level through FreeRange Consulting and volunteering. These are ways that I commit myself each day to counteracting the G8 agenda at a local level, to walking in solidarity with the people who carry on the policy-level political activism full time.

My truest moment of feeling happily back on duty happened in the middle of the first night on the train. Finally settling into a comfortable sitting-up sleep position, I was awakened by an insistent pressing on my shoulder and a softly whispered, "Papa, I have to go pee." Holding a small trusting hand as we go downstairs on a rattling train, with a full moon rising over the fields of rural Iowa, I am Home.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Rick. Having just returned home myself, I am touched by the resonance with your words.