Blog: Son of Truth of Self
by Chef JeM

Possible Templates For A Simple Life

Several Recollections of Summer Camp as Inspiration For a Lifestyle that May Exemplify Some of What The Environmental Movement Has Advocated

Date:   9/20/2009 6:11:16 AM   ( 12 y ) ... viewed 1651 times

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson was published in September 1962. The book is widely credited with helping launch the environmental movement.
In 1963 I began attending Summer Camp in Southern Wisconsin and in '65 volunteered for "K.P." (kitchen patrol) washing "pots and pans". When I reflect now upon the community microcosm that I experienced over the course of five Summers I find that it gave me some seeds for an "alternative lifestyle". I did not think in those terms during those Summers but I have often found myself referring back to my memories of camp-life as a kind of model for a simple life, one that I can honestly imagine myself quite happy living!

I know such a life is not for everyone (and that's really perfectly fine with me)! But for those who may feel that their lives are out of balance, that they are not in touch with nature as much as they would like to be or ... (fill in the blank). For those people, if they haven't had a Summer camp experience themselves then maybe Summer camp might be something worth trying out! (Adults can actually go to Summer camp to work in any number of capacities.) If you are now living in a "metropolis" and coming to camp for the first time then it can be a phenomenal experience!

I often envision new community designs and  like thinking of the layout of my camp as a template. The housing was about as simple as it can get consisting of cabins.  The starkness of these cabins was never a problem for us campers, as we spent most of our time outdoors! By far the greatest attraction going on out of doors was the lake! There is nothing like swimming in a lake (that is small enough to see across to the other shore yet large enough to take a motor boat out on and go water skiing!). Then there's fishing after dinner! I never caught any fish but it was great to try! There were about a dozen other activities in, near or around the lake that made up probably the greater part of the overall camping experience.  Imagine a lake where it's easy to catch the fish! Imagine having fresh caught fish for dinner (or imagine someone else enjoying a fish dinner!). I could live with that!

Our camp was surrounded on at least two sides with farm land (mostly if not entirely corn fields) and on one side with grazing land. Imagine having fresh produce and grass-fed high quality protein sources right next door to where you live! I think this is where "the simple life" can  get very interesting! I am thinking (as a chef, as a nutritionist and as a therapist) that the best tasting, most nourishing and healing foods will be those that are closest to you! This is what really got me thinking about the camp life when I realized how close one could live near to their food and how much more vitality these foods could offer people! Especially for people who are ill, weak, undernourished, etc.

On 23 May 1969 The Who's Tommy album was released. One of the songs on that album begins: "Welcome to the Camp" (as the place to be enlightened)!

Then came "Earth Day" 1970 and the birth of the modern environmental movement .

The very first time I heard about "organic" was in 1970 when I heard a man speak about his intentions to essentially recreate himself organically! It was like hearing an alien talk! But then again I was deeply identified with "Stranger in a Strange Land" and  I was ready to hear that it was a stretch to Grok!

After I got over the initial experience of separation from mom, and the familiar comforts of home, I always had my biggest adjustments upon returning to the city! I remember by the fifth Summer I was beginning to question why do I have to come back here?

In 1975 I took Recreation Leadership in College largely based on the idea that most of my interests (in art, music, food, my connection with water, etc. ) could all come together within the category of  "recreation" and re-creation!.

In 1977 I moved onto an Organic farm just beyond the outer periphery of the megalopolis!

In '78 I finally left all that and came to California!

(Possibly to be continued)


*** December 31, 2016 - "Stranger in a Strange Land" is probably the most influential book I've ever read as it sparked an "alter ego" in me at that time (in the late 60's) and that has remained in me ever since. I understand how the book inspired the founding of a "church". (Wish I knew that back then! ; ~ ) "Freedom and Self-Responsibility" - very simple to say and although they are very much my High Ideals however it seems to require a whole life time to fully manifest! Actually now that I think of it - what else would I rather devote my life to?! Silent Spring by Rachel Carson in 1962 is acknowledged as one of the top 88 books that has shaped America.: Oh, and "Stranger ..." is also included in that list! *** February 20, 2017 - Mars according to Ra Uru Hu "is a deeply, deeply mutative force. And it means that Mars shows the way to the possibility of mutation in anyone at any given moment, ..." This underscores the Stranger in a Strange Land mythology of the origins of Michael Valentine Smith who was born of human parents yet deeply "mutated" on Mars. Was Robert Heinlein consciously aware of this? Is knowledge of this mutative force in the collective subconscious?

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