Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Communal Living

A few days ago, Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods traveled to Suriname.  Suriname is a country in the northern South American continent.  There, he stayed with a group of people who rely completely on the Amazon rainforest and local rivers for their livelihoods.  I admire groups like this.  They have avoided colonization and modernization in favor of a more simple way of living.  They all live and work together for the greater good of the group.  The women share cooking space and the men hunt and fish to provide all the food the group needs.  This idea of communal living fascinates me. 

I have always hated the way society in the West lives.  Material wealth and technology are more important than neighborly relations and gratitude.  After all, if we can go to the grocery store and buy a bushel of corn, we think that we do not owe gratitude to the Mother for providing it. 

Where I live, neighbors actually fear each other.  I always dreamt of moving into a neighborhood where a welcoming committee would visit your house and bring baskets of food, and I could do the same for new people who move into my neighborhood.  That is no longer the case.  I couldn't even tell you the names of my closest neighbor.  The only thing I know about them is that they are not very nice, are abusive to their children and keep their music up loud all night.  And that is the case with most of the people who live in my neighborhood.

I want to live in a commune.  First thing in the morning, I can walk outside and give thanks for a new day and the beauty all around me.  Then I can greet my neighbors, who are no doubt already out and about working in the commune, whether it be maintenance or cooking or working in the community garden.  I want to spend the entire day doing my chores along side people who can provide stimulating conversation and social interaction.  I want to prepare meals with them.  I have always been better at preparing large meals than just a few smaller meals anyway.

The closest thing to a commune around here are the Amish.  And I love driving through their farmland, which borders the town I live in.  I love to see them outside working together as a family.  I especially love going out to their towns and buying their produce and eating their ice cream.  They have it figured out.  Why can't the rest of us seem to?

I think, if it wasn't for the philosophical and religious differences, I wouldn't mind joining an Amish ordnung.  At least life wouldn't be so complicated.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. I crave the simple life and of being self sustained. My family knows that I'm not a big fan of cities or suburbia. I just want my own plot of land--big ole plot--to protect it from greedy companies and have the family work together to care for it. Not saying to be totally cut off, but just enough to be at peace. Blessings. ~)O(~