Our village and beyond
I am walking down a forest with a bright green canopy and a brown yellow floor. The kind of forest that lets light in, and highlights it’s own colors. It’s wide and spacious and it brings relaxation to the person who wanders it. It’s nice to be in these forests and I am so happy that they make a part of my daily life. This morning I left the small community where my family & I live. It’s a happy place not just for us, but for a range of like minded people. Most of them need that connection with nature. Not the connection you crave for after spending weeks without it, but a constant connection. It’s part of our community and lifestyle which we can no longer live without. Our modest village is located in the midst of a self made beautiful forest which gives room for an open plane. There is still opportunity for growth but we like to keep our community fairly small. My parents live there as well, they grow older and made the choice to find purpose and fulfilment inside the village. Right now they are taking care of the daily chores and my kids. My partner in life and mother of my kids is spending most of her time now in the garden together with other villagers. They prepare and store the foods and herbs that are harvested.
While everyone is busy and as life happens in the village I separate myself from the village with each footstep. It’s nice to be able to distance yourself at times from the busy ways of life at our hive. It is nice to know that you can be missed. It’s a freedom to take and to give by everyone in the village. I have been walking on wild trails and small dirt paths towards my destination. Roads as from asphalt and stone are a rarity. People learned how to build stable communities in a sustainable and harmonised way. When the communities started to sprout, more and more of them became independent in different ways. Mostly independent of their own government. The support that our government received dropped over the years to an all time low as it was less needed. Communities and villages were big enough to be able to start their own supportive processes, like their own flavour of social support and all else they felt needed. The relation between government and community peoples became very loose. As the communities grew more independent the support from the government dropped. Electricity, running water, healthcare and all benefits we thought we needed so much before, were no longer in our direct reach. As for the nearby roads, no maintenance was done by the government for years. It took only a few hard winters to crack open the concrete and a few wet summers for it to be taken over quickly by the forest. One would not recognise most places anymore. It feels like we have gone back to Robin hood times when you look at the natural environment. As my feet walk they hardly touch concrete anymore. There is only a very small need for big transportation, there are still a few roads the communities maintain. We love it though, the way our independence, our joy, and nature all benefit and grow in the same direction. The reduction of governmental support and intrusion is beneficial to our natural environment and our own more fine tuned growth. It feels like we are embracing our Mother and with each year that passes it feels more and more like we are coming home. Or rather, that home is forming more and more around us.
With the change in pace and lifestyle, the travel towards and from becomes again a journey. Not a hasty transportation from A to B but an enjoyable and beneficial event for body and mind. My path leads me over a little creek where a deer stands. It stares at me and waits for me to get closer.
A few years ago our last pet dog died. It was not sustainable anymore to keep them so we decided not to support another nest of puppies. It was hard to find purpose for them and to justify the amount of meat they consumed. I heard that some villagers found a good and sustainable way to fill all of that in. Our village and the nearby ones do not have pets anymore. We do have a strong connection with the animals of the forest. Some of them were once pet dogs which we gave back their independence. They no longer need us to survive and they make their own life happen. It took years and some interventions before it all balanced out but now the ecosystem of us and the animals is fairly stable. It is quite beautiful as no one ever thought that we could grow so close to wild animals and how they would tolerate and grow closer to us.
The deer at the creek is one of the very first wild animals to ever approach me. He feels no fear with my presence, on the contrary he steps forward as I make my way towards him. He sniffs the hand I reach out to him, his focus shifts from my hand to a point in the distance. He pauses a second and with no further attention he walks away and disappears between the bushes. There is no need anymore for me to crave a connection or rather to demand an interaction with other beings. I saw it so often in me, when I was younger I hugged pets because I wanted to. That was it, because I wanted to. With dogs it's a fairly easy thing to do. Cat’s on the contrary are not so easily hugged when they do not want to. Sunny, a cat that I knew but for too little time, was a great teacher. He showed me over and over again without aggression and with gentleness on how I “forced” myself too much upon him. It was subtle, but when I look at it now, it still feels I demanded a hug above the wishes and needs of the animal itself. It was a very selfish expression. Now I do not hunger for it anymore and I do not get offended anymore by such actions of fellow beings. The deer and I have shared each other's presence for a few years. It is not a rare event anymore as most people have shared intimate moments with animals of the forest. At rare occasions the animals find refuge and help in our village. Once a deer came into the center of the village. The antlers were wrapped in some kind of wiring. For some reason they know that their problem can be solved by us. It brings a special feeling forward, the idea that an animal approaches and places its trust in you. A year ago a wild boar that was about to die of natural cause found it’s last resting place near the border of our village. These rare occasions we perceive as a gift. Animal meat and material are rare and are respectfully gathered with these opportunities. With the rise of consciousness for the past years many things shifted within us and in the world around us, including the animals. I’m convinced that all our animal interactions from the past expanded their awareness as well and led to more beautiful ways of being together.
Now that my animal friend disappeared I continue my small journey through the woods. I’m heading towards another village, about 30km away. My walk started this morning and I am about to arrive there before dark. One would never have thought that we would find the mind, the time and the freedom to allow a whole day traveling by foot to get to a point that would only take 30 to 50 minutes for an automobile. I’m packed light, some water, some food and basic shelter, more than I need to make this day an enjoyable experience.