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Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

July 2, 2008

The times they are a changin'

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam,

And admit that the waters around you have grown,

And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone.

If your time to you is worth savin',

Then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone,

For the times they are a-changin'.

~Bob Dylan

 

And so they are, aren't they. Haven't you noticed? Of course you have. But what; what have you noticed? I read someone’s blog last week that posed that question and I thought it was a good one. A~ and I had been talking a lot about that as it was and really started to see a lot of changes around us in our day to day as well as having made quite a few changes of our own.

As the cost of oil has increased the cost of everything related to it has increased as well. Compound that with a fairly ridiculous policy of turning one of our primary foodstuffs into an "alternative" fuel source, a plummeting housing market and higher unemployment levels to further add insult to injury and you have a recipe for some pretty tight purse strings. So, what's a family to do? They make a lot of changes, that's what. Or in other words they “start swimming” or they “sink like a stone.”

Around our house we started making changes for various reasons over the last year or so and although many of those changes were for other reasons than the rising cost of living they help nonetheless. For instance, I ride my bike to work 11 miles round trip and A~ has a trailer that she can tow behind her bike to our nearby market. We've gotten rid of our SUV (Mitsubishi Montero) that really was a gas hog even though we loved it, and have replaced it with a used Ford Focus that fits the family and still gets very good mileage. (Both were and are paid off so no further debt was incurred.) We line dry about 90% of our clothes on a clothesline to take advantage of the oppressive summer heat here in Utah and have moved to sleep in the basement over the hot months to avoid that heat without having to run our A/C all night. To combat the food prices, we practice growing as much food as we can in our “Freedom Garden” (My generation’s version of the victory garden.) and are preserving and putting up as much as we can this summer to offset our need through the winter; we, or more to the point, my wife also makes much of our meals and foods from scratch giving us more control over it and allowing us to maximize our dollar. A lot of our “changes” are really only changes in the fact that they are different from our original behaviors over the previous years but are almost more of a return to behaviors that were, for many generations prior, common and standard. In our view we are living in a changing world and regardless of the level to which that change is affected, be that mild consumer changes based on increased costs or extreme and global changes based on food and fuel shortages, we believe it to be the prudent and responsible thing for us as not only citizens but as parents and neighbors to begin to make changes to our lifestyle and to encourage similar change in others. To that end I have offered myself up to teaching the basics of organic gardening (for what it’s worth) and we regularly share what we’re working on, changes we’ve made, recipes and even excess food with neighbors and friends.

As we go about our day A~ and I have also noticed that we’re largely not alone in the fact that we have made changes to meet the demands of the world around us. In the building I work in, I can think of at least 5 others that ride to work, one of which is a direct co-worker, and I’ve seen a marked increase of pedal-commuters on the ride home. A~ as well has seen other mothers with children in tow riding to the parks, stores or just to friends homes in lieu of driving. Now Utah, being home to the majority population of LDS (Mormon) faithful, has a disproportionate number of large families and has, largely because of this, become home to what is affectionately called the MAV or Mormon Assault Vehicle, elsewhere known as the SUV; they’re everywhere. Expeditions, Excursions, Land Rovers and Suburbans and that’s not to mention the full-size trucks of ½ ton or greater for families that own neither livestock nor significant appendages (trailers, boats, RV’s etc.). But even in our area, which is largely affluent, we’ve seen the emergence of incredible numbers of small personal scooters. Now they’re like flies on the elephants; squeezing in between an F350 and  the Chevy Venture. It’s something I would have expected to see happen in SLC, but never up here in “God’s country” (read: suburbia). We also noticed while trying to find clothespins, a once plentiful object in the local stores, that they had sold out completely in not just one but three different stores. Obviously others got the idea that running a dryer costs money. As for food costs, we’ve seen it there as well. A~ has actually had strangers come up to her in the market and declare that “they just paid $1.50 for a single bell pepper…Can you believe it?”. Well that to me is explanation enough for the fact that while we were looking around our local nurseries and even Wal-Mart store’s vegetable sections recently we found a not just slim but in most cases shockingly sparse selection of seedlings. After inquiring with one of the local nursery owners whether it seemed that more people were food-gardening this year he said he KNOWS there are. Last year all season he sold around 1000 lbs of seed potatoes, this year he had sold out of 1500 lbs even before the end of June. Need more proof that the changing world and economy are making an impact here in my home state of Utah? Well yesterday we, one of the reddest states in the union, became the first state to institute a state-wide 4 day work week at the behest of first-term, get this…“Republican”, Governor John Huntsman Jr. in order to “…reduce the state's carbon footprint, increase energy efficiency, improve customer service and provide workers more flexibility.” Utah like many other states has seen a rise in the numbers of commuting workers that are starting to get to the point of not being able to afford going to work.

So yeah, I guess the times they are a changing. Are you? If you are, what are you doing to try to help others to adapt. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”, that’s what Gandhi said. Well I’m certainly no Gandhi, but I agree with him heartily. Be that change. Don’t do it just to save the planet or money or even because “everyone else is doing it”. Do it because it’s just the right thing to do. Do it because, I believe, your life will be richer for the doing of it. And take the opportunities as they present themselves to share with others the things that are possible. A posse ad esse, “From possibility to reality”, isn’t just the name of this blog, it’s a way to think about the world. A way that I believe can keep us from ever being overwhelmed as the times, they are a changin’.

P~

7 comments:

farm mom said...

Great post P! Very inspiring!

jayedee said...

*applause* thank you for a very thought provoking post. i'll be linking to it over at the lost world.

MeadowLark said...

I have no idea how to do one of those trackback thingies... but I added this post at my house so other can see it.

Good words.

Chicago Mike said...

Inspiring.

I know I have mentioned it before, but I suspect my wife and I are having VERY similar conversations. You are a couple of steps ahead in action, but we are getting there.

What surprised me was we were kind of keeping our thoughts to ourselves, and my wife opened up at her work at a full staff meeting and almost everyone else in the room admitted having similar thoughts.

The world IS changing.

And I dig "A posse ad esse".

P~ said...

Thank you all for the kind words. I guess now and again we all have a shining moment huh? Thanks to for the postbacks.

Meadowlark~ I have no idea either and I am a web developer by trade so don't feel bad.

Mike~
Steps are steps in my book. It's great that you and your wife are begining to have the dialogue. I can't put a big enough value on the planning and conversation that I have with my wife.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Razor Family Farms said...

I came over from Jayedee's and was floored. This post mirrors our feelings and actions. We made changes throughout our home to cut back, we cut back on our trips to town, and are saving for solar panels. We worry about our friends who are not preparing for higher gas prices and greater energy shortages. They continue to drive gas-hog vehicles, burn regular lightbulbs, won't install attic fans, and don't even want to think about gardening or hanging clothes on the line. Too much work!

It's so true.. the times they are a changin'

Blessings and thanks for such an excellent post!
Lacy

ruralaspirations said...

Excellent post! Husband and I have been having similar conversations, our most recent observations being posted about in my blog regarding the dramatic decrease in highway road trip traffic. Great move on the part of Utah, too.