Questions for the sub-culture

Lani Lila Chico native and self-employed as an artist/therapist

As we sit in the wake of the closing of the second millennium, poised to receive a New Order, I wonder, when will the old order end? Will some of the temporarily new orders, like Homeland Security, drift into antiquity? There is a darkness upon this age where many speak of peace and love. A millennia from now they might refer to this time as the Late Dark Ages.

Times are changing. New archeological discoveries are reported giving new light to old stories. As history unfolds, so does our tale of human possibility. In an era of instability and vulnerability we may find ourselves clinging desperately to the past and to memories of a safer, saner world.

When I hear reports of the numbers gathered recently in Washington D.C. at the Capital Mall to protest the Iraqi war it makes me think we’ve come a long way toward peace. Or have we? How much oil was spent getting people to Washington, or San Francisco? Is showing up for demonstrations fruitful in the long run or could people spend their energy more wisely? I question much these days. Even the most-educated and environmentally focused people I know travel a lot. Many have to commute from out of town to work each day. There’s a lot of rhetoric about the “war for oil” and yet many are commuting internationally on missions of peace. I find myself becoming critical of the very “sub” culture I have aligned with for almost half a century.

There is a planetary movement growing quietly, effortlessly, called “Voluntary Simplicity.” It pays to follow the old order sometimes. Up this sleeve are tricks learned from parents who survived hard times and have lived much leaner than many of us “late baby boomers.” I find an old adage true: Time is art. And beauty is possibly the number one factor in inspiring art. Living as an artist, simply with a small garden, two cats and a partner this time finds us accepting a mission of refurbishing a hundred year old bungalow in Barbertown. It is a gift to behold. Simple pleasures may produce the most peace.

I am thankful for this community, and wish to continue to bring resolution to the increasing division between the poles. The immigrants who’ve joined us “natives” in the greater Sacramento Valley deserve a big hand. Look at their model of sustainable farming and of family. Hmong and Latino stand out as remarkable cultures. We might learn a lot from them, and find again, time for front porch visits with our neighbors, just like in the good old days.