Homemade goodies from the Grange market
Wonderful soaps made by ras
With the comments from the last post reaching into the 80's, I am feeling compelled to put up another post, just to keep it from getting stale and unwieldy. It's a little more difficult, as I have had to put the mouse on the left of the keyboard, as I have spent so much time at the computer lately that I'm starting to experience carpal tunnel. But, that's just me.
My thoughts in the last few days are revolving around opposing collapse scenarios and responses to the holiday gift-giving season. Happily, we took part in two craft fairs last week. One was a community Christmas craft fair that our Citizens' Action Group uses annually for a fund raiser. The other was at the Grange, which allows locals to secure a really inexpensive booth and sell their homemade or flea market items. We figure that both these events exemplify good ways to support the people in our community who are trying to make ends meet, are creative, and produce pleasing products that don't involve globalist commerce. There are several couples making a business out of homemade salsas and sauces, sauerkraut, apple and apricot butters, jams, and jellies – all canned at home. Then there were baked goods of every sort, from breads baked in a brick oven to scrumptious bascotti, muffins, cookies, fudge, and caramel corn. Knotted hats, scarves, booties, and holiday decorations, lovely soaps, wooden carvings, paintings, jewelry, and on and on. Not the Lexus or the diamonds featured in the television ads, but nice, unique and personal gifts as expressions of affection for family and friends. None of it goes on credit cards, so one won't have to suffer the New Year depression that so many people set themselves up for each January.
The more we can set up the infrastructure for local vendors, the easier it will be to transition into localized survival mode commerce when the dollar crashes or the wheels come off the cart as oil goes to a hundred bucks or more per barrel and life as most know it grinds to a halt.
Speaking of that, Alternet has a story up now entitled, “4 Scenarios for the Coming Collapse of the American Empire” by Alfred W. McCoy (Tomdispatch.com). It makes a pretty much iron-clad case for the demise of the privileged status the U.S. Has enjoyed and exploited since the end of WWII. He lists four possibilities, each more depressing than the last on what it would look like as peak oil is no longer deniable, the economy is gutted from military over-extension, the crippling effects of the great transfer of wealth, the wasting of money to save the banks while not supporting critical infrastructures like the railroad system, debilitating wars that we lose, and the rise of nation states like China, Russia, India and Brazil who come to dominate us. Well, it's not like we haven't talked about all this for years, but when you see it coming from places like the Council on Foreign Relations and given a time projection of something like fifteen years, it is sobering.
I was surprised that he didn't have anything positive to say. I guess that is because he was writing about the demise of the Empire. The Archdruid, on the other hand, has a good post up now as well. His is part of the Green Wizard series he's doing that offers tangible ideas to cope in the post collapse communities. This one is called “In the Wake of Victory.” He writes about the challenge that the peak oil and doomer collective has now that peak oil and impending bankruptcy and all the things that the doom-o-sphere has been warning about for years is actually at hand. It's “put up or shut up” time. It seems to me, at least, that if we can't come up with some good alternatives, we will be stuck with the dismal corporate reptilian response of control and ruthless fascism.
The challenge is great and there is a lot to do for the foreseeable future. Personally, however, I find myself getting tired. I am haunted by p's and Charles's comments on the last post about busy-ness being a form of violence and denial. Hummm... I don't know about violence, but feeling compelled to respond to every need out there is exhausting and, perhaps, damaging.
I feel lucky that we have been able to prepare and be a part of this transition for the last five to eight years. There is no doubt that it is a lot of work. But, most of us work hard anyway. So, at least we've been working for ourselves rather than working to feed the squids and further their agenda.
But, I feel like we need to shift gears. For one thing, we've had food stored up for so long that the expiration dates are coming due on a lot of it. Time to seriously start eating it and replacing it with fresh stuff, not just storing it. Also, the alarming escalation of the police state and it's surveillance of the internet and just about everything else (Homeland Security snitches at Wal-mart, even!) is making me wonder how vulnerable we want to be to the goon squads potentially threatening all those marching to a different mental drum.
At our advanced age, maybe it's time to haul out the bucket list and tick off some of the more fun goals that we have not accomplished yet. Or, maybe it's time to just relax and not feel like we have to do much of anything. Winter is the season to kick back after the harvest, take stock of things, and plan for the new year. We all need to take some time and mull things over while we sip our eggnog and, while they are still on, enjoy the colorful lights of the season.