When I was five years old, I was in grade 1. I started the year in kindergarten, but I could already read, and they still did that then, so I was moved to grade 1 after 6 weeks. I was still the first one in the class to learn to tell time and tie my shoes. I had a few moments of being a star (in a very tiny rural Newfoundland outport).
At the Christmas concert, my mother tells me, I started the show. I went out on stage by myself and sang, “Rock-a-bye Baby” (It might have been Twinkle Twinkle or Baa-Baa Black Sheep. I don’t actually remember this.) I was also in the choir and the class probably sang something. It was a small rural school. I’m sure everybody was included. My mother tells me that after the concert she came up and asked, “Were you nervous?” and I said, “No. Somebody has to go first.” (I’ve been working on getting that confidence back.)
I feel the same way about this “sustainable lifestyle” thing that we’re trying to grow, as a movement, as a network, as whatever it is that we’re doing here. It’s experimental. It’s not new, but the particular combinations of strategies are novel in that there is intention to them. It is not just the way we do things here, it is a conscious choice to turn away from ‘the way things are’. How do we decide where to live? Once we’ve made that decision, how do we make the best of where we are? Rural or urban? How do we make a meaningful sustainable life in the suburbs?
We aren’t quite sure what we’re doing, but we’re pretty sure that somebody has to do something. And somebody has to go first.