It seems that we are in for a difficult year, everyone, everything as we sit in a historic moment right here taking place in front of our eyes. All schools are closed and I can’t go to my normal 9 to 5 job in a local middle school and all my other teaching opportunities are placed on hold because as you know it’s prohibited to have contact with others and we are encouraged to not go out of the house. We are going to miss dearly all the people that were due to come to the Country Living School this spring and summer and it aches our heart that we won’t be able to make new friends and memories. We do want to let everyone know that Casa Verde and the Country Living School continues full tilt, more important and motivated than ever. We are attempting to continue working the land eventhough that right itself is now being threatened in an Italy that is desperately looking for measures to slow the virus down.
Walking for wild asapargus is even a finable offense!
It’s a new era for us and it certainly will bring many unintended consequences. Some are our greatest fears like a transformation into a more artifical world where human contact happens only electroincally, where people lose trust in others and fear the natural world. As human contact will shift we are afraid that our local networks of commerce and exchange on informal levels will become criminalized. It also means a greater control over our lives and like in our case where farmers are not allowed to work their lands. Pretty dire, I know. But there are others possible consequences like some of which we have been praying and hoping for here at Country lIving School. The first reflection we seek to send out to the world is a thought at how perhaps we have over-reached our control over the natural world. It comes back to our reliance on China. Not even China itself, it’s our dependence on cheap goods from China with dire consequences for our natural world in terms of excess trash, consumer-minded living and of course the destruction in China of it’s own natural world. At the thought that people can’t get out to buy whatever they need, my inner hope is that people will start to become more resilient, they will think how to make what they need, borrow or share with a friend or even decide that perhaps they don’t need it as much as they think they do.
As I find myself in quarantine, I feel truly justified at the decision that we took years ago to begin this way of living. Perhaps, the really first time I have felt such a way. There were many things at the heart of that decision but central was the idea to prepare ourselves for the uncertain future that awaited all of us. To prepare not as a prepper with an unlimited supply of weapons and frozen waffles but with a desire to learn, to experiment, to get in touch with the natural world that never seemed to be important in our curriculums or future plans. We are all are not working, we completly depend on a fragile long distance network for our food and if a price war began on food supplies tomorrow millions, billions around the world would be put at risk. What better time to figure out what you really need and start to figure out how to provide it for yourself.
It’s a scary time for everyone, especially for us here in Italy which was the first democracy to be put on a lockdown. The first time you see people with masks on, people in the supermarket strolling out with a shopping cart full of water, these are moments that we never thought would happen. Or at least, never thought they would happen so soon. The eventual effects of this new crisis are still to be seen but there is nothing wrong with trying to see the positive side of what we are going through. In a way, we can be mindful of what this stopage, of everything, of all of our lives can mean for us getting back to the essential, the most important in our lives. I can’t wait to see all of you again and give you a big hug!