Living on the edge
I feel like I have been on the edge of Transition for some time now for various different reasons including no fixed abode or just testing the ground in new Initiatives. Permaculture, one of the major roots of Transition, teaches us that in nature edges are where the most diversity is. The edge where two systems meet is where the creativity and interesting things happen. Fairly recently I started lodging on a farm 8 miles outside of Shrewsbury, so now I most definitely am on the edge and these are my reflections on it so far.
I love my new house, I've got a veg patch, an orchard, a wind turbine, an aga, I'm in the countryside, lovely housemates, this is the kind of place I have been yearning to be living for quite a while now. And I wouldn't be surprised if many urban transitioners harbour similar desires. This is a wonderful place for living lightly on the planet and being surrounded by nature is undoubtably good for my wellbeing - inner and outer! Now many people still choose to live out in the countryside without it really affecting much their ability to join in with Transition activities, but there's another lifestyle choice I have made that makes things a bit tricker.
My main mode of transport is my bicycle, I don't have a car and I don't want one. This does however introduce certain boundaries into what I can do. It takes me just under an hour to cycle into Shrewsbury and while that isn't ages it does normally mean that a trip to Shrewsbury is a bit of a day trip. During the summer it hasn't really been an issue, and there hasn't been a great deal of Transition events going on anyway, but as the days start to draw in and the weather starts to get a bit more unpredictable I can see that I may be quite reluctant to attend evening meetings in Shrewsbury. There is a train station only a couple of miles away with a train to and from Shrewsbury every two hours, which I will probably start to make more use of. But I suppose my feeling is that it is really going to have to be something good to entice me there. I can't just pop along now so I need to feel that my effort will be worth it.
Also Shrewsbury doesn't really feel 'local' to me anymore. It isn't even my nearest town, Wem is only five miles away and apparently it does have a Transition group, but I haven't looked into them yet. But even 5 miles is a fair way on a bicycle and is not really my local area. So really I feel like I should be building my community here in the local village and surrounding houses and farms, but that means starting up a Transition group or something similar and I'm not sure I have the energy and enthusiasm available for that quite yet. I also feel I would need to lay more foundations first.
I have also been on an edge between Transition and Permaculture for a while now. I am really engaged in permaculture and I am doing my self-led Permaculture Diploma at the moment. It has been really interesting how it has changed my view of Transition, how it has made certain aspects of it much clearer as I know the principles behind it, but how I have noticed and wondered at where they diverge. Although it is actually quite difficult to find the edges of Transition and Permaculture as neither of them are really that rigidly defined!
I think my final Transition edge at the moment is being a Transition Social Reporter and writing for this blog. As social reporters we are always on the edge between our Transition Initiatives and the wider Transition Network. We are also on the edge been the practical doing and then the subsequent story telling and knowledge sharing. It's a good place to be, at the edge, lots of interesting things happen here, but it's not always easy.
Photos: The wind turbine on the farm - generating lots of electricity today!, my trusty steed and the edge between my new veg patch and the wild!