The Milkweed Diaries

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Apocalyptic rhetoric, the power of a single action, and a beautiful homestead

After coming across this beautiful image on a blog I recently discovered (Future House Farm), I followed the internet rabbithole to the website for the family home in Wales that is the subject of the photograph: A Low Impact Woodland Home.

This beautiful little building seems to have "the quality that has no name" described in A Pattern Language and The Timeless Way of Building. In any case, this image makes my heart sing!

Here's a quick clip about why the people who live in this house are doing what they're doing:

The video asks questions about apocalyptic rhetoric and political action, and posits that all of our actions are political.

This concept has resonated with me since even before being introduced to the mantra "the personal is political!" by my 2nd wave feminist foremothers. I heard and read these words, "the personal is political" over and over again from "womentors" in my early 20s, until they were as much a part of my psyche as the golden rule.

Even before that, I was part of the generation that watched "Understand the Power of a Single Action" flash behind Michael Stipe on stage while we danced to the politically charged music we'd heard on dubbed cassette versions of the albums you couldn't buy in the mainstream record stores. In the rural South of the 80s and early 90s, copies of copies of copies of tapes passed from one person to another in the teenage underground, carrying with them secret information about the world beyond our small conservative towns.

The power of a single action, or a single line of a single song, or a single image (like the one above) was something that made intuitive sense to me from my early on. Single actions taken by other people were lifelines to me as a misfit kid in the pre-internet sticks. Growing up isolated from political "movements" I first witnessed and then experienced from within the power of single actions, conscious choices, making small connections and commitments.

In my life, single actions have grown in me as seeds: seeds passed from hand to hand until they were planted in me, seeds that sent down roots, roots that twined with other root systems deep underground and made me stronger.

So thanks to the builders of this little house and their philosophies for rekindling all of those thoughts. And thanks to all of those whose actions, however big or small, took root in me.

And speaking of actions big and small, a final thought on the "Low Impact Woodland Home" site: I also really like the list of small steps toward sustainability on the website of this house ~ anyone interested in a dialogue about this list? Additions? Subtractions? Elaborations? Discussions?


Anonymous said...

Speechless - Lord of the Rings, eh?

Newsflash - can swap books and plants for seeds obtained from planting 10,000 year old seeds
(see French website, here -
Anybody you know has a spare copy or two of books listed below -
* Sandor Katz, Wild Fermentation, The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Chelsea Green Publishing, ISBN 9781931498234)
* Sally Fallon, Nourishing Traditions, The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats (ISBN 9780967089737)
* Alta R. Turner, Finger Weaving: Indian Braiding (Cherokee Publications, NC 28719

God Bless!

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

"A Pattern Language" was our favorite guide when we designed and built our house ourselves many years ago. I've recently been introduced to a similar book on utilitarian landscaping called: "Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture" by Toby Hemenway that I really like so far.

Anonymous said...

I love that house, too! Their list of actions to take is very interesting. I agree with most, though not all, of their ideas.
Following on Jack-of-all-thumbs comment, I haven't read "A Pattern Language" but I recently got "Edible Forest Gardening" which references it quite a lot.