Yin and Yang

‘Bombs’ Marziale said, ‘first they throw bombs and then close everything up’, it was his conspiracy theory.
The gate for his charming ramshackle row of houses was closed behind him, I think it was more of a reflex because the dogs used to come out, but I don’t think he realised that the only dog that posed any danger has been tied for two years now. With a few of his dogs killed by the hunters and a few others gone missing.
The paint on the gate was old, but the tricolours of the Italian flag could still be seen clearly.
He has been our neighbour for over 6 years. His Italian is a dialect special to him only. He made me laugh, i’ll stop every time on the way back home, and even though our conversation would always be the same, as if we are rehearsing, I’ve come to appreciate it.

The fields were all ploughed, and though we usually spoke of our strategy for sowing wheat, it was as if time itself stood still, things did not make sense anymore. The Holocene has come to an end.
Winter was approaching, but the last few years it came late, climate change was everywhere. By ‘bombs’ he meant to say that the pandemic was back, that it was man made, it was dropped on us all.

There is a craziness in rural Italy, one that is hard to make sense of, especially for us that have grown up in the western mindsets. Families are the rule, and there is an ancient law that rules the land, and it all comes together in my neighbour in a strange way. We were leaving, or at least I think we were, something snapped inside me, we were leading a revolution by ourselves, a revolution I did no longer believe in.
So standing there with him outside his gate, the fading tricolours and 10,000 years of sowing wheat, the climate change itself even, and our plans to bring back the heritage wheats of old into production, where all on standby, as if waiting for some heavenly decision, ‘bombs’ he said, ‘they drop bombs on us and than they make new rules’.
This plan that I have convinced him will see him back into farming, more as a way to convince him not to give up. Somehow all of it came together for me, it is this imposing mountain we live under, it makes everything dramatic, everything seems big. I was sitting in the car, talking to the last peasant farmer of Torricella Peligna, about sewing wheat.
The revolution was none other but an effort to save the Holocene from collapsing on itself.
Wheat is what made the weather stable for over ten thousand years, no one really knows about it, because it’s not a scientific fact. It is a pact some long lost ancestor of us made.

One of his dogs set on the ledge of the second floor window, even the dogs here do not follow normal rules, the row of 4 houses were a progression from liveable, to quite broken, to beyond repair, with the last being the house were the dog lives on a window ledge, that dog used to have a brother, one was white and the other was black, the black one used to live on the roof of his house, but he disappeared one day. Then after the roof was somewhat fixed, the remaining puppy, I took to call Yang, because they looked like Yin and Yang, the white has a black head and the black had a white.
The remaining puppy used to sit on the upstairs window, as if he was mourning his brother.
Things were different under the mountain, and it made some dogs behave differently, Yang found a compromise, he only ventured as far as the second floor, his brother went all the way to heaven and disappeared. One needs to find a balance with how far it allowed the mountain to drive him into other planes of existence, the dogs knew it.
It was the time of the second wave and sure no one dropped bombs to infect us all, or so we we think, but it is also true that things stopped making sense.

Yang at the window ledge

It was a picture frame, his dog. Framed by choice over sensibility, the mountain pulls us into higher planes. Sometimes it seems crazy, the old laws of conduct in small Italian villages, so difficult to the outsider at times, that they almost broke me. I felt like I am being asked to make a ruling, here in this strange land of the past, medieval villages are suspended in mid air, dogs are pulled into window ledges, and wheat stands in question, the stability of the Holocene.

I drove back home, I have given all my wheat to local farmers to plant, I give them one seed and they give me two in return, that’s the core of the project. I could not really focus on wheat anymore, In fact I never could. I was running late for work, we have endless yurt covers to make. I wonder how we got to that point, we used to be free, on the road, with no work and no hassle, how come nomads can not travel freely, because they make yurt covers for a thousand campsites.

It is a strange occupation being a yurt maker, and a yurt cover maker (which is the majority of our work) even more so, it’s such an art. We make all of our yurt covers from afar, and believe me it is maybe one of the hardest lines of work. To know how much to add, how much to trust the client’s measurements, where to cut more, where to add less. The fact I was running up and down the mountain, did not help, the measurements of three different covers were turning inside my head to a point that I could not see the math anymore, Pythagoras was taking over but who knows what he was calculating. There are pictures in my mind, snaps, stories and they tend to come out when I sew.
The problem is that it is hard to bring them out to make sense, not so much to me, but to others.

I know what was going on, I know it was not bombs, but I also know my neighbour is not crazy, even though the locals sometimes say he is, he is the last link of a chain of a people, a way of life – the sedentary. I am his neighbour, yet I never belonged anywhere, and though I find it hard to deal with the issues of central Italy, I have found a belonging here. I am though more of a nomad and he, the last peasant farmer. The mountain frames everything in this dramatic sense, a romanticisation of daily lives.
If we did not buy our land with the last houses of the commune, he would have sold already. So I live in the contradiction, it’s the end of time, not because the world is ending, because it is not, what is ending is our pact with the creator.

Currently here, under the mountain where dogs live in their own abandoned houses, perched on window sills, me and my neighbour are facing this question together, can we save the climate?.
What is hard to explain, is that the climate we are used to is an agreement.
It is an agreement made by nomads at the end of the younger dryas (the last ice age) when in order to stop the sky from rotating, which they failed, they chose to live in one place. What they succeeded in, is making the chain of ice ages stop. They did it with wheat, they did it by stopping their roaming.

It is only in the contradictions, on the edge of abandon, or when everything seems to fall apart, something magical opens, like a door. In it you can see the making of ages. Italy of the mountains is ruled by something older, something that seems so foreign to the outsider, it is community.
What makes it hard to see, is that we have a sense of community that we gained from instagram, novels of a paradise lost, of other ways of life.
So it is hard for us to see it, because now, at the end of the Holocene, when all the agreements are falling down, we do not understand that the last guardians of a ten thousand year agreement, are small Italian farmers.

Nomads, it has been said always plunder the sedentary. We, in our own personal journey, have come to place after place like that, the rule of 5 (which also means something else to us) meant that we were used to pack our things and move within 5 minutes, if we deemed a place to be unhealthy. That still drives me crazy, the idea of living in a park-up, in a lay-by for 6 years. The Huns see houses as tombs, and I can not fault the judgement, houses are tombs for nomads.
I sit on a pile of yurt covers, there are only a few people who knows this art, the cover makers, most of which have been taught by us. We have our own language, seam allowances, and shrinkage. Sometime at the end of long day of chasing the illusive line between reality and craziness, trying to find the right place to end the canvas above the yurt door, not sure if to trust the client, or the figures they have sent us, it boils down to intuition, at the end of the day sometimes we have a small victory, a new way to pattern the roof pieces or
another way to stitch the cap. Sometimes we design another tent, but most of all it is impeccability of the trade, throwing yourself into the unknown of
someone else’s frame. Learning a to know from experience what can go wrong, and assume the worst, I laugh how my clients get amazed when I tell them how they took a measurement and why its wrong. To give them their dues, they work hard to measure their frames for us, and we send them back and back again to them to make sure they haven’t got anything wrong.

How did we get here, can nomads make the law for the countryside?, I remember when we lived in tents, and everything seemed sane, even if new age community is a monstrosity, with no real roots in existence, but we were the only people living in tents. The rest of the population lived in houses, we were poor, and once every few years we would sell our tent cover, or poles, it was our way to pay for a new home. which was again a tent, it was like a snake shedding its skin, and in order to afford the new one, he had to sell the old to someone else, this is how it all started.

How did we end up with a thousand campsites, and people in massive estates calling us to make them new yurt covers. Now they ask us how to run the countryside, but we alongside them have ruined it. We turned it into a chain of holiday homes and campsites, we sold them our community and they use it to repackage their massive estates, so we can never buy, or even rent in the countryside, and none of us is really happy, even though for a time they pretend it’s so much better solution to farming, its called diversification, I can call it diversify your attention from what’s really going on.

So you see, it is hard to strike a balance between the real and the made up, the lines are diffused, only a few yurt cover-makers know that art, only they understand. We live in a lie, because as long as we make yurts for sedentary people we can not travel, it is their way to keep us in place, they sell our art, and the country side with it to an endless stream of people who would never live in it. Together we have repackaged the land and made it less accessible to all.

We have no time to make up our mind, to lead the sedentary into another epoch, because there is always the next yurt cover to make, I am lucky because I have trained others to make covers with me, and it gave me some time to focus on something else. We dreamed together, but the pressure of making a cover after cover, yurt after yurt, broke their dreams. They feel like we will never find freedom, all that we have found is an endless pile of patterning, we got holed in small homes and workshops. Once the only campsites were where we lived, around the fire.

We all knew how to make our tents. Sure, none of us were very good at it because we only did it every few years. Now we sold our freedom, and we make the best tents in the world, I know things about pattern making that few do, Its an art, when you get good at it you can do it in mid air, its a space a few can hold, the patterns float, and you must hold them all inside you, balancing all the factors, holding all the measurements, the canvas shrink, the stitching. We sold our way of life and the community, and as long as we keep doing so, to people who re-market it as an experiential tourism, nor we or them can ever find it again.
The people who I’ve trained blame me, and maybe they are right. I feel like something is looming over us all. It is decision time. Underneath all this industry of selling the landscape as a package, there is a small family of tent makers, and most of us are related.

In central Italy the mountain rules all, I know that modern society is incapable of true community, it does not even know what it should look like. We have become accustomed to making belief, we convince each other community still exists. I have lived in the marginal, in the borderlands of society all my life, I have seen enough alternative communities to know nothing is different. Maybe I am the only one that will say it, but there is no such thing as sustainable tourism either. We sell abandoned lands as a dream, as a resource, when we aren’t willing to live sustainably in them.
I have been up since 5 in the morning, and I am on the verge of giving up on my (now) one man revolution, I know something else. It is just hard to speak about it, my “crazy” neighbour seems the only sane person around, ‘bombs’ of coronavirus, are the mark of the end of an epoch. Most of us are so distracted by Covid-19, that we do not see that the countryside itself is sick, the apple trees, the olives. This last year has seen a whole olive field next to our place in Italy, develop a new sickness. We are all so homocentric that we miss out, currently (it seems to me at least) all of the non local varieties of fruit trees are dying. Sure they always had less tolerance to sickness, but they managed, you do not expect them all to die within one year. After all the olive grove next to our houses have been there for 30 years.

I say I am a nomad, but there have been no true nomads for over ten thousand years. Nomadism as we know it is an offshoot of the neolithic revolution, the people of the steppe domesticated horses, and it gave them a trading power. They lived in yurts, and now I feel like their last descendant, I know things that only exist in contradictions. We have ran out of a design plan, our rent is due. I led a one man’s revolution, I have to make up my mind, but my mind does not function like other people’s.

In the long long ago, all mammals have been infected by a virus, not unlike we are now. ‘Bombs’ he said it, and it makes me laugh.
Some think he is crazy, but there is a sanity in how he sees things, in his dialect, it is a language of his own, made from being the last frontier man for so many years, farming the last farm of the village. The real edge of abandonment makes one sane in ways others can not comprehend, it is where nature writes Man.

All of our minds have been infected by a virus, and this is how we think. Activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein or ARC as it is known, plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity in our brains. With an important function in our memory. It has been suggested that it acts in a very similar way to a virus, self assembling into virion-like capsids that encapsulate RNA as it does.
It is thus theorised to be repurposed from a viral event somewhere in earlier evolution in order to mediate intercellular communication in neurones.
What?!! you may ask.

We have ALWAYS been thinking like a virus!!!, in fact thinking is a viral function, and that is what I am trying to say, what we deem crazy, is that some of us do not encapsulate in the same manner, our thoughts are not regular, and mine never seem to have been. We are humans, now scared of a new virus, always scared of the virus, yet it is the virus itself that taught us to be scared. We above all other animals, we are not the smartest, we just got more virused. That is why community is hard for us, we make separation inside our heads, the capsids we wrap around our thoughts and memories.
Yet that was then (million of years ago) and now is now, and now is the time for someone to make a decision, the trees are dying, and the Holocene is at an end, not because of climate change, but because we stopped honouring our agreement with the creator, when nomads come to farm.

Living in the marginal makes you see things that others do not, and it teaches you to not put stock in thoughts, or agreements, those work very well for people in the city, they live in a system, for me houses are tombs, and thoughts are a take over from another ancient pandemic, one that has changed mammals into new evolutionary strategy. So we think, and we think a lot, we remember also, but it is just the function of a virus from long ago, and even though it gave us brilliance, we still need to make our choices for ourselves, the trade off for that so called brilliance is community, what made us “better” than the animals, is not that we are, is that we think is separation, we can break the biome, we can encapsulate the idea of the individual, and they can not, they have been infected like us, but never got as sick.
My problem is that I need to decide for others.

Writing for me is a way to bridge all of that, where I live there are no rules. Simply because no one wants to live there. I was pushed all of my life to this place, the borderland, even as a kid. So now my mind works in a different way, and it takes a lot to balance it all, I have to wake up at 4am to think clearly. The hard truth about the virus that made us able to think, is that it gave us one mind only, and made us all share it. None of us think alone. I took me years to accept that fact. I was taught by others, the simple first steps into telepathy, and it almost ruined me. What was hard was not being able to hear other people’s thoughts, it was understanding that none of mine were ever my own.

So I guess since then the only place that makes sense is the marginal, the abandoned lands without design, where nature and Man hit on each other as waves. It is a contradiction – where nomads come to farm, to hold the last days of an epoch at bay, and because I do not like to decide for others, I find myself sitting on a mountain of yurt covers, that we make for a string of campsites, places that have “diversified”, or in other words, stopped farming. We are nomads and we never cared about farming. I mean we are all nomads, we only farm because there are too many of us to live freely, we killed too many animals. That is the story of the last epoch, that is why we spent ice age after ice age in isolation. The world was devastated in ways we could no longer fathom. Now we freak out because one degree celsius of change, at the end of the last ice age, our ancestors stood a much more nomadic earth. Their stories of the flood, and comets, of endless winters of starvation is what drove them to a new agreement, but even then it was not all of them who decided, it was a small group of people who came together to hold the sky from rotating. They tried to stop the heavenly mill from grinding the ages, and they failed, but they did manage something else, they managed to appease the creator, and they gave us the Holocene, they were as wild as we are tame, we fear a change of 2 degrees, which comes to show how stable our climate is.

I have to make up my mind, but I no longer trust the mind, I say this, if we are to make a new decision if we are called to turn the heavenly mill around again, our rent is due, and we can no longer find a house to live in, because houses are tombs, yet nomads are just horse breeders without an idea, that do not even grow their own food.

Nomads have been a threat to the climate, because the climate is an agreement they made, I write because I feel you too must have a say. In order to find sanity.
I always ran away, my mind maybe does not work like yours, I need a lot of quiet to hear my own thoughts, so much so, I usually do not trust mine, only at 4 am while the world is asleep. I know the thoughts are mine.

I have learned to trust something else, which is more akin to feelings.
I see truths in contradictions, where dogs sit on window ledges, where the crazy are actually the sane ones. Yang lives on the window of a broken house, mourning because Yin has gone to heaven.

A once in a lifetime opportunity to buy a dream. Two farmhouses with 30 acres in the purest Italian landscape.

La difesa Farmhouse and Shepard hut

We are looking for a buyer for our Italian site and project, this is a very rare opportunity to plug and play into an existing project. we are hoping to find a young couple with enough resources and finance to pick up the project from where we got it to. We would like to not only sell the property but also pass some of the association work to whoever takes over, which means that with enough dedication you can also have an income, and get involved directly in one of the most important issues currently, which is rural development in marginal areas, possibly you can work with us and take over our existing projects in area, so there is a lot of scope there too.

The outside wood-fired bath

The property consists of some of the wildest, most magical land in Abruzzo, it is in the heart of the valley of the Aventino river, looking to the Majella massif, arguably central Italy’s most spectacular mountain range. This is a slow valley, where a traditional way of life is still practiced.

The Majella Massif and the valley

The property itself of 12 hectares of land (almost 30 acres) and an abandoned farmstead we have brought back to life, a lot of work has been put into the old farmhouse to renovate it to a special type of unique old style accommodation. The land itself is made of some open fields, surrounding by oaks, and old forest. The property has two small streams runing on opposite sides, one of which borders the property itself for some 200m, the other is maybe 50m from the property border.

One of the small pools at the bottom river

This is not any abandoned farm tough, it is built on its own in one of the Old Difese, areas that were dedicated to forest farming, and rearing large animals on acorns. Hence the oaks were never cut. The project we have in mind for this amazing farm, is to create a new type of forest farming model of agriculture, in order to address some of the issues that central Italian mountains are currently facing, where small scale farming is at a crisis. The focus is to bring old varieties of fruit, and veg, nut trees, and maybe even the old vineyard (the area has some very special varieties which are unique to it) back. Its really a once in a lifetime chance to live and work in a world that has disappeared. With wild nature, wolves, bears and deer, boars and eagles. Slow Italian way of life, a magical valley shroud in old magic, religious beliefs, and mystery one of which is the secret hot spring that used to run until 50 years ago in the land below our property.

The old vineyard and olive field

We have brought back to life some 80 olive trees, most are of the intosso variety, it now enjoys the presidio slow food recognition and is considered one of Italy’s best olive oil makers, with bottles going up to 20 euro for hald a litre, there are various apple trees dotting the forest, plums, figs, cherries and more, so it is already an edible food forest by itself, yet with a scope for another 500 fruit trees easily.

The aim of the project is to also create a unique accommodation on site, we have 5 yurts of various sizes, and one Shepard hut that can be sold with the property, we have been toying with the idea to turn all the houses nearby into a scattered hotel, as so many of those are semi abandoned, yet we have so much time on our hands, and it is usually full with other projects.

We have 5 coppiced yurts that can be included in the sale of the property

A little way away from the site itself we also have a 2/3 bedroom house and another small plot for garden, this is closer to the tarmac road, it is also totally on its own and private, close to that house we also have the possibility of another 30 hectares at a really good price with two old houses which we were looking to turn into an albergho diffuso as part of the project, so currently as part of the same sale there is the option of owning a whole hamlet, and this can in that case turn into a community project.

The top 2 bedroom farmhouse and garden

The idea is to find a young couple of a small group of friends that is willing to take forward the work and the project, there is a possibility for us to transfer some of our work with local farmers in regards to heritage wheat, which can be developed further into a point it can be a full time employment. As Abruzzo has seen a tremendous boom in tourism and demand from buyers, this is probably the best time in our lifetime to invest in this region. It is one of the last gems of an older way of life, and for which we would like to protect it.

Volunteering with our heritage wheat project

We feel that with everything else we have on, work commitments and the fact that we spend so much time away from the UK we can no longer give this project what it needs, and it would be best to pass it on completely to someone who can invest all their time and focus, and can enjoy it better, we would prefer not to sell it as glamping site as such, because we have a completely different vision for it, where we hoped to use this site as regenerative model for farming communities in the central italian mountains. It is also because of our work in rural areas we are also progressively against holiday homes, and part time rural living, which is deciding us against simply keeping it as a part time project.

If you are looking to a new breath of life, if you feel like you are missing out, that you need to live closer to the earth, that you need to farm, if you want to help some of the wildest, most hospitable of regions, a place made of endless natural parks and wildlife, this project is your dream come true. Seeing that we have endless pictures and 6 years of association work there is really so much we can say here. It would be best to contact us directly, and have a chat over the phone. We can talk prices and options.

Your own Spirits Intent T-shirt

Finally they are back!, you can now own your own T-shirt with our branding, our logo has been so popular and so many people ask us about it that we decided to bring our T-shirts back. We even had a few people ask us if they can use it to tattoo it on their body!.

Now you can own one too.

We are offering you a free T-shirt with any new cover, you can also have an apron or an enamel mug or even an hoodie, but we have to get those made specially, so there will be an added cost. Just remember to ask for one when you order your new cover, or if you want one so badly and can’t order a yurt just because you want it, we can also sell you one.

táltos – the nomad mutant horse shaman

The last 20 years have brought about a new advance in thinking, in the way we view ourselves, in almost every field of science, new theories that stand against the mainstream approach, individuals that at points risked their whole careers to venture a theory. So little by little our story emerges from the clutches of convenience, I would not go as far and call it the truth, because a lot is missing in it, a whole other perspective, a prior way of seeing things we as humans lost, yet it is a step.

Books the like of, Against the Grain, Deciphering Ancient Minds, After Eden, have come out, at times it seems to me that we are at the end of an epoch, The Holocene, and we are writing our conclusions. There is on part of this story that has never been written, although it lurks in the pages of all those books, it is our non domesticated self, who we were.

The story of our consciousness and our civilisation, the way we conquered and dominated every inch of this planet has been written piece by piece, but the real hero of the story remains hidden between the lines of those books, that hero is the Nomad. Seeing that our way of life is being questioned now we are facing a worldwide pandemic, where we are caged in our stone tombs, we retreated into the distrust we have in our own minds, of the stranger the other, to a point we can no longer meet them, we can no longer touch, I think in this time of reflection would be a good moment to remember our real selves.

Before we go there, I would like to point out that some of the latest editions in the study of viruses has brought us some strange ideas, one of those is that our own memory is constructed from a repurposing of viral characteristics, meaning we create virus like capsid like units which we infect our own brain cells, or in other words we wrap information (mRNA) with which we infect our own minds, Freud spoke of the layering of memory as a structure of our identity, and so in a way we can also view the self as a sort of virus, and the story line which it tells us is one we construct continuously to hold an idea. There is of course a question if this idea is actually true, have we erased the memory of who we really are?

So the idea that some individuals are now working hard to rewrite our story, hatched from DNA research, from archeology, and anthropology is interesting, and I would add that the fact we are currently facing a world wide viral attack, on which we all have to question ourselves is an osmosis, it means to me that our collective memory is being rewritten.

There is this series currently on netflix which takes us back to Freud, in which the young Zigmund Frued, works out his hypnosis therapy, he is being ridiculed by everyone, yet he find this mysterious Hungarian girl, with whom he works, she is a táltos, an Hungarian shaman figure, even though that in reality, a táltos is normally a man, usually born with some defects or unusual features, like excess body hair, different strands of colour in the hair, extra bones, teeth etc. A person who is called at some point to a shamanic path, his power is very related to horses, but the same story applies to the táltos horse, he too is a mutant, with three legs, or strange features, he too must go a transformation in order to arrive it his secret power and potential, usually by eating ash from a fire.

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Like we said our minds are structured so that prior strata is erased from memory, and so even though that here in Europe in the not so long ago man of a secret power lived, we no longer understand their function, the táltos is interesting to us because of something else though, because unlike other type of shamans, his power relates to horses. So in this mystical figure we find three elements that were lost to our memory, the Nomad shaman, the mutant, and the horse.

It is hard for us to understand the meaning of that person, yet I would say he is an important link, it has been argued that the development of our consciousness has allowed us to hunt bigger prey, collaboration and shared mythologies have allowed us to work together like no other species, yet those myths and stories are somewhat lost to us because they lay in an earlier strata, before the Holocene, when we were magical nomads, before we domesticated the largest of animals, in After Eden, Kirkpatrick Sale, puts forth the theory that art, and painting came about when the power of collaboration and society came to such extent, that we stood to exterminate all the larger animals we lived with.

Cave art would portray Bison and Aurochs and horses, and I would venture to add something to that detail, I would say that we had an understanding in the epoch preceding our own, we understood that those races are the keepers of the ecology, we knew that killing them would bring life to some extermination, those were the animal races born to unite all the micro climates, they grazed the grasses in between the forests, they kept our world from desertification, so before we forgot what we knew, and because we lived with those animals so closely, we drew them on our walls, as magical ritualistic keepers of our world, we learnt their magic, which the táltos still performed only a few hundred years ago, he would stomp the earth, to indicate hidden treasure, he would go into altered states and call the rain, just the like first people tell us they always did, and we find a lot of that story in the San bushmen.

So the nomad mutant was the keeper of the magical properties of those races, it symbolises a sort of balance between man and the envioerment, nomads were the keepers of ecology, they lived with the races that ate grass, keeping the big steppe and swathes of land that allowed our forests and smaller ecology zones to prosper. My addition to those ground breaking theories trying to rewrite our history, is that we knew the importance of those animal races, it is obvious to a point we learnt their magical practices, we knew how to stomp like a horse in a certain situation, in order to find treasure, so we too must have known everything else, we knew that our grass lands, where nature could not evolve further, and grass being the first cycle, were kept and fertilised by horses and bison, and the magic of living with those animals, and possibly the idea of lising them as was suggested, was a big chapter in our evolution.

I would say that now that we face constant new strains of viruses, because our forests no longer stand, and ecology has been taken out of balance, the loss of the mutant, the shaman and the horse with the bison brings it all up, nomads even in our own epoch were the keepers of the grasslands, when those were lost, when their mythical keepers were brought to the edge of extinction they came into the last surviving ecology system, the pockets of forest, so in a way climate change, is a process of losing man’s relationship with the animals, and I would say that our attempt to domesticate some of those races, could have come about as a way to save that balance, rather then trying to create a new food source.

Now we are in the concluding chapters of our Epoch, and we wonder if we will be allowed to go on, and the answer to me lies first in the shaman and the horse, the nomad and the mutant, they are the fringes of our society, yet they groom it, like horses groom the steppe, it is no wonder that shamans took the form of bulls or horses, the ancients knew something the virus in us has forgotten, the lost chapter, yet we lost it so little ago, so táltos is the answer, the nomad-mutant-shaman and the way for us to save our place in this world is to bring the nomad back, and allow him to cultivate the empty spaces, to fight desertification, which would allow our forests to flourish again, and possibly we would not have to die or forget even more because of viral episodes, its an earlier strata in our memory we have vacated in order to hold on to the little ecology we have left.

 

 

The pandemic and the case for rewilding.

We have launched the Heartland programme a few years ago with this idea in mind, to try and direct the glamping industry into another paradigm, the issue is that what started as eco tourism has turned into a money machine, this amazing industry have grown on the backs of small companies, small farms, and campsites, and more than all on the backs of nomads, in our view it should have created a more natural integration. and so although we have had an amazing response which comes to show that a lot of people feel the same, with over 200 projects contacting us to see how they too can become more naturally integrated, people we worked with to find different platforms and integration between peasant framing and the campsite, a lot is still lacking.

I thought it is time to write down a few guidelines seeing the whole world is put into lockdown, and hope you have time to read through.

The story is that for the last 13,000 we have been cultivating nature through domestication, we championed wheat (in other words grass), which allowed us to create surplus, we built cities with millions of people over that surplus, and we have cleared big parts of Europe in order to farm the way we do, even still we were still periodically hit by famine, because the earth could not supply our demands, in order to mitigate famine, we went and conquered new lands, to create offshore farms, and as last resort we have modified our crops in the green revolution, now the situation has become unsustainable.

It means that from the point of view of agriculture as we know it we have possibly 5 more years to keep going, in fact famine is already everywhere, it is just that we dont see it because it is mainly in third world countries.

So business as usual is our set of mind, but as we constantly clear nature we also take away the balance that keeps viruses from ourselves, in fact without wild animals and forests, without natural habitats around us we will see more and more pandemics, what is remarkable is not that it happened, the remarkable thing was that it did not happen already at such a level, yet it does so every two or three years now.

So now the whole of Europe is on lockdown, we see a lot of our clients standing to loose a years work, people can not go on holiday, and it brings up a lot of what we are trying to help people establish, the only way out of the situation in the long run, is to rewild nature, to farm in a different way, we can no longer afford agriculture, and I am afraid to say that the glamping industry must play its role.

There is a simple and natural balance, between man, animal and nature, forest and field, so now we all have to sit back, and rethink, and although I know most are just counting the days, thinking that their season will eventually start, and manufacturers are thinkin “soon we can go on again”, yet we can’t. We need to rethink, just as much as farmers need to rethink, so as we make your tents during lockdown, I hope you too can re-think.

There needs to be light in the end of this tunnel, and a clear strategy of rewilding, and sustainable tourism, with mini farming of heritage varieties is the only way forward, and maybe now that there is no longer spare time to loose, people can apply it, it can happen in each campsite, see it as a replacement for the mask you will have to wear.

One example is European bison, because every landmass had its grazers, animals that used to migrate and create ecological balance, there are amazing projects like Rewiling Europe, who are trying to implement this exact strategy, by recreating the Aurochs and bringing back non domesticated species to manage big reserves of natural land, together hand in hand with sustainable tourism, this is where we need to aim.

Our idea is to try and influence the leisure industry to do the same, by creating circles of natural belts, in which if you are a farm, you focus on heirloom foods, and the campsite part goes hand in hand, with farm to fork, with artisan bread etc. The idea is to crate more natural habitat again, and to pull back a little from the crazy rush after income, in which more and more sites in the country side, no longer invest in nature, and instead of taking people into nature, they take away from nature for people.

Most people these days live in the cities, and so our countryside (being taken over by the leisure industry in the UK in the last 5 years) should focus on rewilding, and organic farming, creating natural defence belts, cleaning the air, and protecting us all from viral mutations and infections.

We developed some amazing strategies, like natural restaurants in yurts, we work a lot with ancient wheat varieties, and although there is a big waking up, the UK as a whole finds it hard to divorce from the rush for progress and economy, and a big driver in that is the glamping industry, it feels it is better because it operates in nature, yet it has harmed farming, more than any other industry, because it allows people to make an easier living instead of working the land, farms are bought to become holiday cottages, and even yurt campsites prefer to run events on manicured lawns than to focus on farming.

You who are a campsite owner, need to do your bit, it is hard to be telling you this, but you work in nature, and you need to stop regarding it as a hotel, I know no one likes to be told, but the earth is not ours, we are guests here, if you have a farm, which you inherited or maybe bought as you moved out of the city it is your responsibility to cultivate nature, we make nomadic structures, and in truth we see that the missing person in all of this is the nomad.

It was always the nomad who lived amongst the breeds who cultivated nature, maintaining bison herds at a level, going around the dry lands that will support no one else with goats, and I am afraid that losing nomads, meant we also lost those breeds, and as such have seen the desertification of some massive parts of this earth, in fact this is more of a cause to climate change then all the carbon emissions put together.

So from now on, this needs to be a clear direction, if you want to run weddings in nature, do not just trim the grass, plant some trees, and bushes, if you want to buy farms that used to farm locally, you also must find a way to work them, and having a successful business is not enough, and more than all if you have the luck to own big parts of wild land, you must rewild it. And so Glamping can not be an excuse anymore, now we are sick, we wear masks because we cut too many trees.

In the 1800’s settlers spoke about clearing land that they settled on, one of my favourite qoutes is from a book called the backwoodsman – “But nature will not allow laws to be prescribed to her without taking vengeance, or have changes made in her domestic arrangements forcibly by human hands. With the felling of forests and the turning up of the soil she sends diseases which check her insulter in the work he has begun, and punish him for his audacious inroads. It usually takes half a century ere nature is appeased and ceases to contend in this way with the mortals who trouble her; at least in Continental North America the diseases produced in this way usually increase for thirty years, and decrease for so long a period, until they entirely cease. This is the case with the interior, but not in the cities, where other relations occur in proportion with their expansion. At my settlement there had been for many years no malady, save those caused by external injuries; but now one or the other frequently complained of ague, bilious fever, flux, &c., and we often cursed the time when we saw the first white face settle amid our solitudes. At Lasar’s matters were proportionately worse, for a hundred negroes would be down at the same time. For my part I had as yet been spared, while all my companions had been ill.”

This is why we would like as a company to focus more and more on that side of our work, we have been making tents for you all for over 15 years, and maybe it doesn’t really count, yet we feel that there needs to be a new way of life, and the glamping industry can become its arrowhead, because currently it is just another system that deprives nature of itself. I know we have been saying it over and over, and maybe it is tiring, yet it still not enough.

We are working on taking 12 hectares on the edge of abandon in the mountains of Italy and develop them in a natural symbiosis, whilst at times we lose money from pushing people into a more natural way of operating, we feel that as nomads that is the core, We lived for 16 years on the road, and now there is no more nature one can simply live in, and so this is our payback, so if you do not want to be sick, rewild, and grow a forest, and help us bring the bison back, and heritage wheat, and maybe you would not need to wear a mask next year. Glamping can not be manicured as it is anymore, and it can not be the escape from small scale farming.

So with that the lecture is over, I hope you all hold through the next months, and that they help you reflect and stop thinking about how to make as much money as possible, and think about sustainability.

Contact us if you are a small farm, if you own wild land, if you want to find ways to cultivate the natural and nomadism again, and we can look at it together. We can not wait for green policies to take place, or the government, especially now the economy has taken such a hit. So it’s up to us.