And now we are one

By David Parkinson

Cold front meets moist air

There is no escape except to go forward.
(Peter Hammill, “Lemmings”, 1971)

A year ago today, I wrote the first post on this blog, “Welcome to the Slow Coast!” A week and a day later, Tom Read contributed his first post, “On becoming a localist”.

Back then I had no idea where this experiment would lead. I didn’t expect that Slow Coast would still be chugging along one year — and 110 posts — later. I didn’t know if I would have the discipline to write one post each week, although that was my original goal.

It was really just that: an experiment. Cheap and simple, might well have failed. Hasn’t — so far. All I was hoping for was a place to write about the things going on around me and the questions and occurrences seizing my attention from one week to the next. And my initial fears about not having enough to write about have proven to be unfounded. Increasingly I find myself wishing I had more time to follow up on all the interesting groups and activities popping up and doing amazing things; but life is short and I’m too busy to become a full-time community biographer.

I should add, too, that this experiment might well have faltered if not for the encouragement and regular contributions of my co-editor Tom Read. When you’re wandering off into uncharted territory it helps to have a companion to keep your spirits up when the wolves start howling. And it makes it easier to keep plugging away at something, no matter how quixotic it may seem, if someone else is right there with you. So thank you, Tom.

If I had to draw a moral to this, it might be: leap before you look. Sometimes what seems like a good idea gets too bogged down in second-guessing and we end up depriving ourselves of opportunities to try something new. Right now I’m in the middle of another full-on experiment, this time with a group of collaborators: the formation of a not-for-profit cooperative for the purposes of helping regular folks do better at producing, processing, and preserving local food so we can become more self-reliant as a region. We’re learning as we go, pushing the envelope on the legislation that regulates cooperatives, creating a local network of potential members and a wider network of friends and allies around the province.

As with the blog, it’s not easy to know where we’re headed. But as Lao Tzu said,  “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” But sometimes that single step looks like it’s about a thousand miles away. We all need to practice the fine art of starting the projects we dream about, even — especially — if we don’t think we know what we’re doing. If our idea is a good one, it will find a way to survive despite us. And the process of nurturing an idea into reality is always an adventure, an opportunity to learn and teach, and a good way to connect with other experimenters and pioneers.

Happy birthday, Slow Coast!


5 Responses to “And now we are one”

  1. 1 kevinw1 February 22, 2010 at 22:11

    Happy Birthday, Slow Coast!

    >We all need to practice the fine art of starting the projects we
    >dream about, even — especially — if we don’t think we know what
    >we’re doing.

    I’ll vote for that 🙂

  2. 2 Julie February 24, 2010 at 11:39

    And I’ll vote for “leap before you look”

  3. 3 Fran February 24, 2010 at 20:26

    Happy Birthday Slow Coast, hope you made a wish when you blew out your candle.

  4. 4 Margy February 26, 2010 at 10:06

    Cograts on a wonderful year online. Like you, I sometimes worry about not having anything to write about, but something interesting always happens in my life that I feel is worthy of sharing. I enjoy reading yours and Tom’s posts. I just wish I had more time to get involved in community events. But at least I can experience them through your posts. – Marg

  5. 5 David Parkinson February 26, 2010 at 10:08

    Thanks, Margy and everyone for the kind thoughts.

    No one is more surprised than I am that I made it through a year of pretty much regular weekly posting. It’s not always easy, but it’s a good discipline for sure.

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