The Meadow

by Halcyon on February 16, 2012


A couple goes out into the wilderness and find a meadow. It is lawless and free. They have sex outside and shoot guns where they please.

Awesome friends show up. They bring more awesomeness.
Every spring, the meadow floods and washes everything away. It makes things challenging, but the awesome vibe just keeps growing. And people keep showing up.
Pretty soon, it is just too freaking dangerous to shoot guns. At some point, when several families start to have kids, it is considered more appropriate to have sex privately.
Most are okay with the compromises.
More and more awesome people show up.
The couple has kids of their own.
The community establishes a social contract to try to keep everyone in the same headspace that got them all here in the first place.
Lots of the old-school folks start to think the place is getting constricted and lame.
A magazine does a story about their community. Videos circulate showing beautiful, free people dancing.
One fall, it becomes clear that they were running out of space in the meadow.

The children have lots of ideas on how to solve things. The elders have ideas, too.
Eventually, a group of the original settlers decide that they will come up with a plan to fairly give spaces to as many people as possible – knowing full well that, for the first time, not everyone will have a place to stay.
The spaces started to get divided up – randomly – to try to keep in accordance with their principles. But after 4/5th of the meadow was allocated, something became clear to everyone: They were going to run out of food.
Why?
Because a huge number of the elders who knew how to hunt and fish and farm did not get spaces in the meadow.
“So what!?” Said many meadow dwellers. Let the new people figure it out or starve. We have principles – we need to follow them.
“Fix this!” said others. Find a way to get the hunters here. Everything we’ve worked for will be lost if we lose the fertility of the meadow.
“Why is a fisherman more important than me? I don’t even eat meat!” Some complained.
A few said, “I told you so! Why didn’t you listen to us? You people are so stupid!”

The elders ached.
They had always welcomed ALL who were called to join them. But they were at an impasse.
They listened to many, many opinions. They considered many, many options.
Finally they made a decree:

“The Principles turned the meadow into what it is today. But what it is today cannot sustain the Principles as they stand. One way or another, we cannot welcome everyone to the meadow every year.
With are going to distribute the remaining 1/5 of the meadow to hunters, farmers, and fishermen who have the tools and knowledge to create the food we need.”

Many were pleased with the decision. Some were horrified.
Some said, “The meadow is dead,” like others had been saying for years.

In the end, the elders did what they felt they had to do keep their family alive. It was a compromise they could live with. In a “no-win” scenario, it was the path they felt was best.

How will the meadow fare this winter? Or the winters down the line? Time will tell.
In some ways, the chaos has provided a landscape of wonderful uncertainty that was lost early on in the meadow’s settlement. This chaos – combined with an influx of new, impassioned people – could create something magical.
But word is also spreading of new places where hunters and farmers have begun to gather – on the coast, in the forest, and even in a dry lake bed.

Some people believe that the world will soon be full of meadows. Others feel like the time of meadows is over. In the end, if you learn to hunt or fish or farm, then you can be in a meadow wherever you are.

(Not) the end.

-Halcyon

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