Ready, set, re-set.
This year we are working on a reset of the land we love. For our elders who have entrusted their legacies to us, for the trees that are counting on all of us to keep this space open for them and ultimately for the generations to follow, we are giving pause, and giving thanks.
Reset to Regenerate
Winter solstice is upon us and the mood is a mix of excitement and sobriety. What can we plan for the year ahead that will make our world better — for ourselves, our families, and our community? The questions and possibilities swirl and potentially they might overwhelm us. But somehow we resolve to stay clear, to stay connected because we know these are the days where we live the questions so we can embody the answers. It take some dedication. It makes me think of my shortcomings, like the one that doesn’t join groups really well.
I didn’t want to be at the ARC the last few years because I wanted my life to be easier and less social. I didn’t want to take over the reins of an organization plagued with post-Occupy trauma. I wasn’t thrilled about staring down the barrel of anxiety that fills the lives of anyone and everyone living in the New York tri-state area. I didn’t want to help anyone bridge a city built on consumerism and Wall Street with their weekender jaunts into the bucolic pastures and forests. I grew up in Jersey. I grew out in Brooklyn. “Let the kids figure it out for themselves.’” I thought to myself more than once.
Trust me, I was and remain reluctant to be social at this level. I have a dream job writing for a startup empowering farmers and generating local food security initiatives. I have a toe in a next-level crypto world that is looking to back hashtags with assets. I didn’t want to do this reset. I didn’t want to care, because I gave at the office, struggling through life as a poet and a visual artist, finally feeling like the winding road had balanced off a bit — no sharp drops, no hair raising turns.
To be honest, I spent all my days since Occupy Yoga rebuilding my life along the lines I believed in — and I got incredibly lucky. I was all set to live between the world of blind consensus while ushering in the great awakening with all these new friends and colleagues — without disruption.
Reality is sometimes you don’t get to make decisions based upon what you want because you do what you feel is needed.
Adulting in 2018, during these days when every tree matters, when every broken branch needs to be seen in the light of cause and effect: In a recycling mindset, it isn’t so easy to throw out the broken, the complicated, the things you don’t want to deal with because for just a second your life feels alright.
The Re-Weaving of ARC 38
This winter we are slowing down to speed up. We are settling into winter with the intent to avoid the cut-and-run impulse and dig deeper into retrieving that which is good here. We are repairing the ARC by settling into what it means to serve this community in all its forms.
The resettlement of ARC38 is about defending our right as a community to regroup and re-commit to staying the course — to fulfilling our mission as a hub for planners, visionaries, artists and makers.
Maybe you’ve heard about the right to repair debate, where manufacturers tell people who buy their stuff — everything from smartphones to smart tractors — they don’t have a right to fix their own things. We too believe in the right to repair — this place, our selves, the world.
Our lives depend on believing we have this right to be engaged in building systems that support our mutual benefit. Our lives depend not only on our right to repair this world, but to repair our resolve.
So as a I reward for my internal drama queen dialogues, I am suddenly surrounded by some of the most inspiring people I never expected. Again faces pop up and new faces come along — all looking to do the work of exploring regenerative culture one workshop at a time. It feels quietly amazing if not a little bit exhausting, but to get there we have to spend the winter asking you questions so we will bring you weekends and weekday courses and events you want and need.
This winter we won’t be programming meetups or jam sessions, none of that until the spring. This winter we are engaging in reviving old plans and consolidating visions to get permits and build outdoor classrooms.
This reset requires us to be relentless in our belief that the universe wants projects like this to survive and thrive. This winter we will be listening more and speaking less. We will be asking allies near and far, what can we do to help. We have some plans all our own, for low-cost, high-impact teaching gardens with mycology logs, herb gardens and native plants. We are going to plan to look deep into nature so we can so can look at recycling and interdependence close up — in case we forget ourselves.
A reset this winter is the writing of a whole new chapter, a move from asks to invitations, from bursts of direct action to slow and consistent growth. We have 150 acres. We have a house. We have roots in the most powerful grassroots movement of the modern era. We have everything to give to each other with some trust and just a little more patience — we will do this.
This land needs to be quiet this winter so people can renew their inspiration, reignite their belief in the world they thought was possible. This land needs us to stay where we are and tend to those who rely on us in these turbulent times. This land needs us to remember it will be here long after each of us is gone and to conduct ourselves accordingly while we do this work.
As a poet my professional inclination is to see what others do not, and what I see taking shape here is a learning center that blends all that nature and humans have to offer each other. I see mothers and fathers taking turns teaching kids about mountains and gardens. I see city folk and locals appreciating each others skills and building real relationships. I see the oldest house in the valley lit up with the sounds of laughter and learning. I also see the best in technology coming together with our most noble selves, to serve the biosphere and all its critters. I see farmers and raspberry pi creating smart gardens resilient to the changing conditions of our environment. It may be the longest night of the year right now, but I can see a crystal of light shining through this darkness.
You are the Resilience
In each of your recent messages and memberships I see the early stirrings that come with this resurrection and I have to say, my reluctance is giving way to excitement.
From each set of eyes that shows up for a community call I feel a starlight beaming from each of you. Maybe stronger than ever, I see your gifts, your capacity to weave this story as community through your individual brilliance. Your light gives me the courage to keep going through the paperwork and the side-eye glances.
I feel the presence of your commitment to a better, brighter future coming on like sparks and they merge with that place in my memory that is filled with the chants that ran from park to park: Another world is possible. I feel you and I know you still believe, so I do, too.
This year we rebuild our commitments to bridge vision with practical action, and to keeping that mantra of another world, alive through permaculture in all its styles. This year we reset our intentions to serve the trees, our elders, and the children equally. This solstice we are recalling our tribe, inviting old and new members to come back and offer their most magical selves right here, right now. At least that’s what I will be doing, and I hope you will, too.
This winter, we reset, recalibrate and recall our collective power. This winter we celebrate the opportunities before us and we appreciate this solstice pause knowing that every passing hour is leading us toward the new year and the promise of seasons ahead.
Happy Solstice, Holidays, New Year and Thanks to All of You,