"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

09 March 2010

The Opt-Out Scheme

Let's talk about rock and/or roll...

Okay, maybe not. Better yet, let's speak of goals. Those objectives we set for ourselves. The prize, however tangible or otherwise, we keep our metaphoric eyes on.

Sometime during my teenage years, I decided I wanted to have published something and live either in or near the monoliths of the greater metroplex. It took me nearly a full twelve years, but I eventually self-published a little something entitled; Seasons in Limbo: The Tangled Web, and I got some royalties from it. Not much. Just enough to pay-with folding paper and jingling coins-for a night of rather athletic carousal. I was living within a mile of the monoliths at the time.

Once upon a time, Sabina and I decided that a funky little mountain township with roughly two-hundred residents, some ten miles from the Roof of the World was our Kashmir. Not even a year later, we found the House of Owls and Bats. It took us a little less than two months to purchase it and move in.

Of course, I used to, in terms of retirement, before I decided I'd not wait that long, wanted to move to either the mountains or the deserts. Both landscapes entrance me. Thus far, having been to both, I have found the mountains much more agreeable to my constitution.

There's a certain irony in this, given there have been those in my past, friends, lovers, acquaintances, even family members, who've believed I was without direction. That I had no goals whatsoever and just wasted whatever potential I might have. I cannot help but chuckle, given what I have accomplished. Sure, it really has nothing to do with money or fame, but neither of those things are of particular interest to me. However, as Jezebel once observed of me, I have a nasty tendency to get what I go after, it just might take time.

Somewhere in my mid to late twenties, when I still lived in the greater metroplex, I decided once I owned property, I was going to start working on become self-sufficient. Opting out. The initial ideas were things as simple as a garden and the use of rain water and snowmelt for the plants. I also liked the idea of getting off the grid somehow, as not to be paying the local energy consortium for electricity.

When I first told Sabina of these ideas, a few years back, she didn't laugh at me or tell me I was far from the conventional definition of sane. In fact, she rather liked it. She began to offer a few of her own ideas. Things like solar and wind power. We both bounced the idea of a greenhouse off one another. Even having a well. The seeds, planted some five or ten years before, were beginning to germinate into a full-blown scheme. A new goal.

We already try to live as sustainable and mindfully as possible, and this is a step further in that direction. It could be considered being green, but, in some ways, green doesn't have a lot to do with it. Long before that fad, or even thinking of this scheme in the sustainable direction, I thought of being self-sufficient in terms of economics, and maybe even a little bit in the way of my misanthropy.

Why should we pay for produce if we're growing our own? Even and especially if we put up a greenhouse, giving us the ability to grow year-round? Why pay the local energy consortium for electricity if we generate our own? Why pay the township for water if we sink a well and use the rain and snowmelt to help water our garden? Why be beholden to anyone?

And then there's the aspect of me being a quirky misanthropic bastard. Not having to deal with other hominids doesn't necessarily hurt my feelings. In fact, I prefer it. It's something I do love about living in the mountains; not quite as many of the half-bald monkeys called Man to bother me.

My sister, in snarky jest, said I was going full-hippy. She asked me if we would communicate by smoke signals in the future. With a bit of a chuckle, I mentioned that if, when mentioning my latest scheme, I had said I was also going to be stock-piling guns and ammunition, she'd call me a survivalist and ask me where my tin-foil hat was. Both are forms of opting out, just different aspects of the same cosmic coin.

Sabina and I have started with baby steps; beginning research into high-altitude gardening, we want to do at least one season of that before committing more to the greenhouse. We've done some research and pricing on solar panels and wind turbines. In between, we buy organic and local as much as possible. Live as sustainable and mindful as we can.

It is a process in which baby steps are required. One that could take years. I once told Sabina that I was estimating between ten and fifteen, depending on the circumstances. Still, that doesn't bother me, given that it's taken me years to accomplish some of the other goals I have set for myself. Just as I did those things, I will do this. After all, my patience is formidable and I seem to have a nasty tendency to get what I go after should I decide I really want it.

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