My friend Tom and I were discussing what our personal worlds will be like after the “crash”. We often have these deep philosophical discussions in the produce department at the Co-op. This is one of the benefits of working with this great bunch of guys. I said, of course, that I would continue to grow the food and encourage others in their pursuit of growing their own. Plus, of course, the midwifery skills. I think I will easily find my niche in post apocalyptic society. He said he would brew the beer and play the music. I immediately thought of a book I had read to my son when he was young. I had recently had my sweetheart, the artist, read it. A story of agriculture and art. The book is “Fredrick”, a Caldecott Honor winner by Leo Lionni, the story of a community of hard working mice with one apparent slacker. But in the cold and dark of the winter the “slacker” comes into his own keeping the cold, hungry mice entertained until spring. The role of the artist in society. I loaned Tom the book because I knew he would enjoy it.
This got me thinking about other favorite children’s books and the first one that came to mind was “Stone Soup”. You (if you are old enough) remember Captain Kangaroo reading this to us. The story of the hungry soldiers who come into a small town and bamboozle the village folks into sharing their hidden food stores with them in making their “Stone Soup”. This story starts out being about each of us protecting our own and ends up with a beautiful celebration of community. The town’s people start out being the frightened, greedy people that the media and those in power would like us all to continue to be. The constant hounding of the media about how societal structure will fall apart and we will all become looters if disaster strikes has been proven wrong over and over again. People took care of each other during the Ice Storm here in Maine and they took care of each other in New Orleans after Katrina. People flocked to Indonesia after the tsunami to help. People step up and care for their neighbors. No guns required.
So as DC dithers about where the debt ceiling should be and whether we should continue to have a social safety net. As the temperatures soar into the triple digits and the truth of climate change is more evident every day. As the fabric of society is eroded more and more by the Oprah “everyone should have their own private jet” ethos. It is important to remember no matter what happens people will continue to take care of people. Within families, within affinity groups and within the community at large. Each of us contributing our talents to society. Building strong communities now will lead to strong communities in the future no matter what the future may hold for us.