Friday, March 20, 2020

Revisting the old ways ~ by Kristine Raymond

As of this writing, the world is in a state of uncertainty.  Fear of contracting Covid-19, scarcity of food and necessities, distancing ourselves from family and friends - our lives are in turmoil.  But we'll get through this, just as generations before us did.

I'm not going to list the plagues and illnesses that have affected the population since the dawn of time or even those that have been concentrated in the United States.  That's what Wikipedia's for.  What I'd like to point out is that we survived.  The human race, I mean.  Yes, there were casualties, sometimes in the millions, and while that's scary and incredibly sad, life continued on.

I'll admit; I'm all for modern-day conveniences.  I love WiFi, air conditioning, home delivery, connecting with people around the world simply by turning on my computer.  But the downside of this 'at our fingertips' culture - where we can have anything from takeout to a new car delivered to our doorstep - is that we've lost the ability to provide for ourselves.

There was a time in this country, not so long ago, in fact, that almost everyone tended a garden, owned a flock of chickens, and maybe a milk goat or cow.  They sewed their own clothes (I'd be in trouble with that one), baked their own bread (from grain they grew, no less), and fished or hunted for meat.  They doctored themselves through injury and illness - yes, even plague - and not only survived, but flourished.

I understand that culture is no longer practical for so many reasons, yet in some small part could it be?  What if we took a moment and looked backward instead of forward?  Rediscovered those skills that came second nature to our great-grandparents?

What if we planted a fruit tree or bush or tended a few vegetable plants in containers on our deck?  Raised a couple of chickens in our backyard or put in a beehive or two?  Learned how to can to take advantage when produce is abundant at the Farmer's Market, ensuring our shelves - and bellies - are full when times are lean?  Made our own soap or alternative cleaners?  What if we weaned off having to rely on others for everything and learned, once again, how to provide for ourselves, focusing less on convenience and more on self-sufficiency?

Now, I'm not advocating doing away with import/exports or eliminating jobs or using pages from the Sears-Roebuck catalog during bathroom breaks.  Hey, I love modern conveniences as much as the next person.  Besides, those catalogs are harder to find than TP these days.  Non-existent, in fact.  Nor am I endorsing fishing without a license or hunting out of season or any other illegal activities.  What I'm suggesting is blending the old with the new, incorporating the knowledge of our ancestors with the technology of today so that the next time there's a crisis (and there will be a 'next time'; history has shown us that), we're able to respond with gratitude in the knowledge that we're prepared rather than with fear of the unknown.


No comments: