Contemplating Modern-Day Survival
On a daily basis I contemplate the consternation of the present and the uncertainty of the near future. A quote from Charles Darwin has imbedded itself upon the window of my skull ever since I moved back to the family farm in 2005.
Darwin said, “It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the ones most adaptable to change.” Somehow, I take comfort in that. As unemployment soars and economies tumble, millions of Americans are finding how just how resilient they have to be in order to survive. Most of the country is spiraling downward. Ironically, the economy here in West Texas is thriving at an all-time high due to high oil prices and production.
Until this boom goes bust, our area will continue to prosper. Many families are making more money than they ever dreamed as oil companies offer entry level wages of $25 per hour. As a result, it is hard to keep workers on the farm. We can’t compete with those prices. Neither can other local businesses. From restaurants and convenient stores to commercial retail, most places are having a hard time keeping a full staff to keep their doors open as most men have plenty of motivation to abandon old jobs for the high salaries in the oil field.
As we dive deeper into this transitional time period, change is inevitable. Evolution is a means of survival now more than ever. What is evident to many of us is not accepted by the majority — the simple fact that we cannot continue to live as we have for the past 60 or 70 years. The concept of perpetual growth has its breaking point…in everything, particularly Nature. All our clever disguises of progression are surely collapsing beside, behind, and in front of our very forms.
As I say all these clever things, I continue to walk with one foot in our past world with the other frantically hop-scotching in the other. As a young farmer hell-bent on changing our commercial methods into something meaningful and sustainable, it is inevitable I still generate an income for my family in order to afford many of the items we’ll need in the years to come. Such as a large tank for rainwater harvesting, livestock equipment, gardening tools, small wagons, canning jars, greenhouse construction materials, organic seed, books, documentaries, and anything else I deem necessary for my family’s independent survival.
I’ve broken this evolution into securing four basic principles of living: water, food, shelter, and love. How profound, I know. But when times get tough, I say simplify life. We are harvesting rainwater to endure droughts, watering our garden and orchards through two rain-free months this summer. Growing our own food and storing seeds safeguards us against food price spikes and/or food shortages. Building an earthen home and reinforcing with limestone rock (from a local quarry) is insulating our home against rising energy costs and intense weather elements. Focusing on my family, enjoying my children, and ensuring I am there for my wife no matter the situation further strengthens our bond and love as both will be vital in the years ahead.
It’s easy to let these turbulent times overwhelm us, as I’m sure I have at times. But as the provider of my family, I only have to look into the eyes of my two sons to realize how much more determined I must be to ensure our adaptation to change. No, I can’t control the actions or reactions of billions of people. No, I can’t control what world leaders decide is best nor change the missions of corporate giants overnight. But I sure as hell control what I do, how I do it, and when I do it. That is my saving grace. That and hoping that somehow, someway our species will unite in purpose before it is too late…taking Darwin’s thought to heart and into action.