15 February 2008

Off the grid

I just spent a few sodden wet days with my mate Stiv and his trusty pup, Pork Chop tucked away in a remote(ish) pocket in the above image. We got to hang out with a special family who managed to live off the grid for over twenty years. They created a life on an idyllic beach, centered around family, living off the land, craft and surfing. Eventually, they were evicted from the land and within three years, the father died of cancer, three of the eleven children died in separate car accidents (within the same six months) and another of the children began to suffer from serious mental illness.

We were lucky enough to tuck into some of the great waves that the family had to themselves for a long time. Beautiful reefy peaks on the edge of lush rain forest. We camped out by the local reservation and chatted with some of the real natives about having their traditional beliefs and languages beaten out of them by Christians when they were children. And the pride they now had in being able to re-discover their culture. One man named Alfred, beamed with excitement as he told me about having his father build him a canoe and paddling it to Washington, having native communities feed him along the way. Bald eagles and whales. Rain and... more rain....

As I sat there drenched to my bone marrow in the relentless rain, I understood that I'm not ready for the existence that I've fantasized about for a considerable time. But I also began to understand that leaping off the grid is a lot easier than tapping back into it.