Nothing is as Powerful

29 10.11

A great post from our tour chef, Michael Elinson, who has a wonderful blog about his journey with the Roadshow. (After the jump)

Nothing is as Powerful

Only those who risk going too far truly find how far they can go – T.S. Eliot

We must be doing something right – earlier this week nature graced the Roanoke Valley with four glorious days of balmy weather, with temperatures in the low seventies, above normal for this late in October, a meteorological phenomenon known as an Indian summer condition. An Indian summer can also refer, metaphorically, to a late blooming of something, often unexpectedly, or after it has lost relevance. In this latter use we should perhaps be referring to our American Autumn as the American Indian Summer, in the sense that the Occupy [everywhere] movement seems to have picked up where we left off 40 years ago. In a renewal of purpose, there is an urgent, articulated call to action with the gravity of destiny. As is oft quoted, there is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come. And come, it has. It’s as if, after the withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, the counterculture went into hibernation and its ringleader, Rip Van Winkle, just got rudely awakened. Tea Party members, beware – you may want to keep your distance until after he’s had his morning constitutional.

Last night, under a waxing crescent moon, there was a reversal of fortune. Temperatures dropped 30 degrees. It was a frigid hand attempting to flick a Bic to light the burner to boil the water to heat the oats to feed the mouths to warm the bellies of Julia’s crew. By invitation, we were parked adjacent to what was once a golf driving range, now home to Cross Fit, a military-regimen informed, indoor/outdoor facility, and nothing like what most of us have learned to expect in a gymnasium. Our hosts, were its proprietors, Tim Falke and Andy Beetle. We met Andy, an itinerant philosophy professor and internet marketing entrepreneur, at the Roanoke Outdoor Circus, where Cross Fit also had a presence. One could not help but notice the minimalist equipment: a huge, over-sized tire and two thick ropes hooked to the back of a pickup truck. He liked what the Sustainable Living Roadshow was all about. Coming at sustainability from different tributaries, we are both flowing in the same direction toward the Sea of Change. Andy walked away from a multi-million dollar enterprise to help fund Cross Fit. Tim is an recently-retired member of the United States Armed Services, a former Special Forces Navy SEAL, with nine deployments to the Iraqi and Afghani war zones under his belt. His story is an object lesson of what happens when military meets intelligence, in this case not an oxymoron. When Tim returns to the same town seven years after first befriending an eight year Iraqi boy only to be fired upon by the now, rifle-toting fifteen year old, it dawns on him that nothing whatsoever is any different, not one iota. However, he has… and it gets him wondering – just what the hell are we doing there? The straw that breaks the camel’s back comes when he is unwittingly privy to a high-level conference call that reveals to him the true nature of American involvement in the region. His heart no longer in it, he pulls the plug and retires.

This morning, a massive bulldozer is off-loaded a semi-trailer and begins to grade an area the size of…well, the size of a rugby field. Tim, you see, was (and apparently still is) an avid player, something totally in character for a man who is now on a far different mission from that which Uncle Sam had in mind when he signed up 13 years ago. Cross Fit has plans to start raising chickens, cultivating an organic garden, ultimately teaching men, women and children how to live a sustainable existence and learn self-reliance, if not self-resilience.

We are now barreling down Interstate 77, about 60 miles east of Asheville, North Carolina, where we will spend the next week and three days. After a brief consensus process, we have decided that out time will best be served by digging in for an extended stay with Occupy Asheville. Across this roiling nation of ours, sands are shifting in all directions and the time is coming to draw lines. In some towns and cities, the law is cracking down on the tented encampments, in others the local authorities are supporting the 99%. Which side are you on?

A person who stands for nothing will fall for anything.


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