Civilization and the Wild


After two months in “civilization”, our return to Lone Bobcat Woods was welcomed by a delicious snowstorm and cold temperatures which kept the ground white for most of a week, here where snow usually melts off the following day. We gave thanks for fossil fuel as the portable propane tanks kept our “little house” cozy, and thanks for several sunny days generating electricity from the solar panels and stored in the “house” batteries.


We spent the two months parked in Janaia’s mom’s driveway in Tracy, California in the San Joaquin valley east of the Bay Area. We easily biked to shopping and errands several times a week. We enjoyed generous family time, including watching Donaldson family home movies from the 1950s of our water-skiing family. We gleaned pomegranates and grapefruits, while eyeing well-laden lemon, orange and persimmon trees planted by early twentieth-century homeowners in the older section of town.


After a pretty stressful fall, we relaxed into luxuries and amenities not available at the edge of the wild…unlimited electricity and internet. We discovered internet radio stations full of beautiful interesting music, and treated ourselves to a small battery-operated Bose speaker whose sound depth and clarity astound us. We relished quite a few internet movies.


And with that unlimited electricity, we dug into editing the most complex show we’ve produced, Sail Power Reborn – Transporting Local Goods by Boat, episode 208. It stretched our process and our time (about 100 hours between us). We’re proud of the results, but it confirmed our preference for the lighter-production bi-weekly conversations. They let us highlight so many more leading-edge people and projects.




But the suburbs were so, well, domesticated — like the semi-feral cats lined up for the five pm feeding by the “cat woman” next door. We were assaulted by the sounds of suburbia: garbage trucks at 5 am, suburban assault vehicles (SUVs) roaring down the street at all hours, sirens, the blast of mowers and leaf-blowers (may they be forever banned!).


And we missed the wild. After catching our breath in the “comforts and elegancies” of which civilization offers so many, we were drawn back to Lone Bobcat Woods. Syncopated Raven greeted us in his/her castanet-like click language, and a pond full of frogs heralded February. Now we’ll return to our regular Peak Moment TV production schedule, and finish homestead projects before turning towards the next Peak Moment tour in summer.


  1. Stuart M. says:

    I have a serious case of Brompton envy.

  2. Mark Pearce says:

    Janaia –

    Thanks for the interview with your Mother and her experiences during the Great Depression.

    Family is first in the lives of caring people, and you have shown that with your exhibited respect for your Mother and her perspective worldview.

    I can’t IMAGINE anyone who lived through the Great Depression cooking up schemes like derivatives, and pension raiding, which would deprive others of their very sustenance. It was a totally different ethic. A much better one.

    To be able to pull yourself up from one’s bootstraps you first must be assured that no one steals your boots.

    Thank you.

    Mark Pearce

  3. Jennifiir-Lourre says:

    “May they be forever banned!” How I have made this prayer – over-and-over.

    It is wonderful to read again about your endeavors – of all nature.

    And with regard to nature, the latter always embodies “sacred learning” to me. Not engaged with via mechanized contraptions but, rather, in a very personal (and respectfully quiet) way. Certainly scriptures to be found in many a writing – as well as the depths of our hearts – also offer an opportunity for sacred learning.

    Thus, in appreciation of the thoughts expressed in the above interchange. And, will be glad when records will be kept on paper again – even as I wonder how we could now do without…Peak Moment Television for example??

  4. Hi Eric, Thanks for your thoughtful response. I think back to the monasteries too, esp. like those in Ireland that weren’t destroyed by later book-burnings.

    Where and who do you think might be fulfilling that function in this time? John Michael Greer talks about building libraries (in paper, since electronic grid won’t be dependable further on in collapse) with important information, especially how to maintain critical, simpler technologies.

    I think it would be a very sacred calling to create libraries of wisdom (and important information) as well as places keeping important practices alive. If you know of anyone doing this…let me know.


  5. Janaia, I have so enjoyed the videos. It strikes me that when the Roman Empire collapsed, the knowledge of the Romans was held by the centers of
    Sacred Learning – Monasteries. Now that our own civilization is undergoing (much needed) change, the wisdom of our society will be held by those who follow a path of sacred learning. This time, around, of course, we have learned to dispense with the superstition and dogma and listen, really listen to the earth and our indigenous brothers and sisters.

    I think the “hippies” had it right! They were just a few years ahead of their time.

    Bright Blessings,

    Eric Cordingley
    Portland, OR

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