I won’t tell you everything, of course.
A story is a good story when it paints a picture, but a picture doesn’t need to go into detail. A picture paints a thousand words after all.
So that’s why I have included the above picture of the gate. This is a picture from the internet. It represents us.
I don’t know who you are or when you’re reading this.
I have decided to tell this story because it might come to mean something to you in your time.
Even if that time is moments, days or weeks from now.
Even if “time” has gone by the time you read this.
Even if the words are incomprehensible, meaningless hieroglyphs to you by the time you see this, if you do.
Even if — no one ever reads it.
Isn’t that what we are all afraid of, after all?
That our lives become — nothing —
That there is no meaning in anything we did to anyone in some “future” “time”
If there even is such a thing at all…
I’m not sure that I fear that any more (finally) … (perhaps) … (I think)
So I write this for you — in a public place, as a public record — yet mostly for myself. To empty my mind in a new way.
With the freedom of inconsequential existence, I am writing what happens
As it happens
This is my story
This is our story
And, if you read this — maybe — somehow — it is your story too
Yours in hope and endurance,
July 16th 2020
The winter solstice has passed. This time last year we were on the other side of the continent. This winter, there is no chance of that whatsoever.
My best friend and I navigate life together. It has been this way for over two years now and that is how we like it best.
He identified himself to be very few things, but Solarpunk was one of them. He told me about it.
I identified myself to be few things too, but that was one of them.
Then, because I overthink everything, I thought about it too much.
I still do. Mostly the idea that there’s someone out there who wants to be the authority on whether someone is Solarpunk enough to be Solarpunk.
My resolve for this is an imaginary conversation with this imaginary individual, which goes something along the lines of “that’s not very Solarpunk of you is it then?”
Later, after we had both decided and “settled in” to the idea of the fact that we might be — or in fact are, self-identifying at least, Solarpunks, I decided that we are also something else.
I decided we are Edgedwellers.
For the first years of our lives together from when our orbits collided in the early Autumn (we’re in the southern hemisphere, you might notice) we were living our lives between festivals, house-sits and the warm walls of the homes of families and friends.
Kindness carried us most of the time; then there were those times between times where we were able to trade our existence and our time for someone’s space in exchange for something they needed.
It was mostly the domestication of animals that we have to thank for these spaces, the pets that needed looking after. We loved them, don’t get me wrong.
We also see domestication for what it is — and are acutely aware of the fact that it is not just pets who have been domesticated.
The wild, free human is rarer to find these days.
We lived in between the edges of realities.
The thread holding us together between these realities was one familiar place.
The space that carried us from edge to edge. Our home on the road, my little space-van.
The little old van was only big enough to be a little sun-room by day and a cosy-cocoon by night.
I never bothered to insulate it. Windows curtained by nothing but a thin veneer of floral bed-sheet curtain were the only thing between us and the world out there.
An old small van that cost far more to keep on the road than it did to buy.
I didn’t care for saving, or spending too much time working on a vehicle.
I just wanted something I could drive in, sleep in, and plenty of sunlight.
The cheaper the van, the sooner I could get out there on the road.
That’s what I did. That’s how I met my best friend.
That’s how we decided we were both Solarpunk.
That’s how we explored the edge, and then the edge of the edge… and then the edge of the edge of the edge.
At one point, we woke up on the edge of the continent, to a sign that said
The sign, which we hadn’t seen anyway, supposedly was meant to be visible enough to read “DANGER! CLIFF!”
We had driven in at night and there was nothing but darkness.
Luckily, we had parked and set up at a reasonable distance from the edge.
Even in the darkness, as we heard the crashing waves, I wanted to get a little closer. Between the two of us, we remained a safe distance. We work together well that way.
That was on our way across as we travelled back to my home town where we would begin the next chapter of our travels to the north-west and then return to my hometown to spend the winter with my mother there, and I’m glad we did.
A year on, and the idea of home — the old home, the one I grew up with, is starting to feel too far away again. It always does eventually. The absence stokes the fire of nostalgia somewhere within me, and the memories congregate and throw their own little party and start convincing me that it will feel good again as long as I’m able to return.
Right now, it’s out of the picture.
It’s July 2020, and there is a Health Crisis well and truly sweeping throughout our society the world over.
I’m not going to use the P word. Or the C word.
You might not even know what I’m referring to. I’m not even going to use the V, S or F words.
All the things that a person can become that might be interchangeable for this Health Crisis.
I’m not denying its existence. I’m simply mindful of the fact that these words have been blasted all over the place.
I have an extremely high radar for and low threshold for propaganda.
To the point that I can barely manage to have enjoyable conversations with anyone at all from day to day because I see it in everything that it is and ever has been in.
I see it in my own education, all seventeen years of it, in retrospect. I see it in every piece of media. I see it in films… books…
It’s always there to varying degrees.
How analytical you are as an individual is another matter.
It’s not paralysing though, this propaganda radar. Once you are aware of it, its actually very useful. There is a great freedom to it, once you realise your entire life and our entire world have been heavily influenced. It’s very freeing.
What you decide to do with this, well that can be either crushing or empowering — you decide.
I’m lucky that my best friend has almost the same BS radar as mine… I mean propoganda radar… you know we may as well just call it BS though, right?
For the most part, we see things very similarly, and we decided to be empowered and refuse to be crushed.
So here we are.
A year on from our last winter back home with my family.
This year winter we spend with his family.
By next winter, we want to be anywhere but winter.
With the Health Crisis and all, supposed state borders are closed.
So I can’t go home.
Was I going to anyway?
There’s a few things keeping us anchored here really.
But I won’t go into that, I said I’d spare you the details.
The thing is, we were chasing our tails trying to live a Solarpunk life on the road.
Not to say it can’t be done. We did our best with what we had. It’s not like we had anywhere near the resources to move around in an energy off-set way even, we didn’t even have a Solar panel.
However I’m sure you’re aware that Solarpunk doesn’t mean Solar panel.
In the most unlikely of places we were often able to find organic vegetables and bulk filling whole food grocers.
Where possible, we ate as close to from the Earth as we could.
So when the time came to stop somewhere for a while, it was finally time to get our hands dirty.
By the end of the year we found ourselves locking down a rental with a commitment we could envision, six months only, a rainwater tank and a back yard.
Fast forward six months and here we are.
We’re still here.
Our house is beginning to look like that of a couple of Solarpunks.
Our window-sills are brimming with half-cut vegetables sprouting new growth as their roots soak up the water we’ve placed them in.
From there they join the seedings which we had sewn just before the winter for our first ever round of winter crops.
One of the two rooms has been converted into a recycle studio-office, the other a makeshift multi-media start-up; dotted around the kitchen are as many glass jars holding water and scurvy-weed; the ever abundant emergency aesthetic medicine-food-plant.
A newly created sewing station has emerged in the corner of the kitchen, because our projects have now sprawled like an unplanned city beyond the limits of the envelope of a house we put ourselves in.
I’m counting the days until Spring so that we can sprawl into the outdoor room.
So we have a lot to do, creatively at the moment. We slowed down and stopped so that we could do it.
And is if the country lifestyle and the health crisis hadn’t slowed us down enough, while we were stationed at a Red light, someone’s life came crashing into ours.
Perhaps it was a metaphor. There we were. Out of nowhere —
(This is the part where someone crashes into us.)
For a microsecond everything went blank. Then it was just confusion.
Our heads and necks jerked by the motion of an SUV plummeting into us at a red light intersection. If there were brakes, they weren’t used hard enough.
I really felt for her most of all more than anything. I didn’t think about us.
I just kept thinking how awful to be the one driving, and then she told us about her life and why it happened and I felt for her even more.
This was not okay.
Not because she hit us, but because — from what I gathered — someone was hitting her. Or close to. Or something like that.
She wasn’t afraid of us, or whether we reported it or anything like that. She was afraid of someone in her own life.
That made me sad. And mad. Mad at someone I would never know.
Later, I began to feel it, and feel for us.
Then it hit home. This happened. We lived. We could have not lived.
But that’s the same as any other moment of any other day. There’s no nearly… it just happened.
This was all around the same time as the health crisis was really hitting for the first time in our part of the world.
People were stocking up on food and I’m also not going to say the T word.
This was a little bit before masks and sanitiser came into Vogue.
Meanwhile, after shuffling around trying to make sense of the GP of the day who was always most likely more concerned with the health crisis than with our little bump, we found a great physiotherapist.
When I finally explained that I’d be without purpose if I were never able to play music again, I felt heard by a health professional for the first time in a long time, restoring my much needed faith in individuals who choose this line of work.
Overall I do have faith in humanity — surely I couldn’t be a real Solarpunk if I didn’t — and to know that there are good people in all corners is reassuring, especially in times of a (… the P word would have sounded rather poetic here, but again I’ll say health crisis.)
So now our days are filled with gardening, physical strengthening exercises, home cooking, walks to the local grocers and our bakery who will allow us to use keep cups during a time of *health crisis*, and now… sewing.
After taking to making accessories from discarded items found on our walks, in particular small childrens toys, I found myself starting yet another venture.
It might have been the fourth or fifth documentary on fast fashion waste that sparked the latest obsession.
For the last week or so I have been merging clothing of the kind there is far too much of into garments of a more desirable nature.
Or at least, that I would wear. And I like my style.
So we have a style and styling business now.
The Solarpunk in me is cringing.
I already found it cringey that I had to sell CD’s as a “working musician”
Working musician is what society would regard me… when I’m working
Solarpunk Songwriter Edgedweller on a Vision Quest to save humanity from itself is how I would put it.
Well, it is how we both put it.
It’s not as though I’m alone in this.
We’ve both been on a Vision Quest trying to figure out how to save humanity from itself for many years.
For me, it feels as though most of my life has been leading up to this.
For him, I’m not sure… at least the last few decades by the sounds of it.
Together, we have the combined knowledge and experience of… well, surpassing that of any 75 year old man.
So to the ones who think they rule the world.
Mark my words, your rule is over.
We’re only just getting started.
For the time being, if you need me, I’ll be in the kitchen… working on my Sewing corner.
We’ll be keeping pretty cleaning up the mess and turning it into something better.
This is just until we get to the good stuff
So stay with us,
And please… I will only use this D word once, and never again, I promise..
Don’t give up
We’re with you
The question is,
Are you with us?
I’m signing off for now,
It’s about twenty to midnight and my toes are starting to get cold from the lino and wearing only one pair of regular socks — which is something I rarely do because I learned at one of the fire benefit concerts — ironically — that if you wear gumboots without socks on a cold night and there is likely to be frost, you literally might freeze your baby toe off. It definitely felt like it.
Until next time,
Yours in hope and endurance,
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