Wednesday, 15 April 2009


“I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one ... I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amidst the mountains.” Thoreau, Walden.

Captain’s blog. Stardate: Spring 2009.

Six months have passed already. I can’t believe it. What a ride.

This shall be my last post from the mountain. I’ll be here for a week or so still, but that time will be full with packing down and saying goodbyes. When I have time for thinking, I’d like to be free just to think. And I’d like to say goodbye to the place privately.

But do not be alarmed! I’ll be keeping up with the blog. The world breathes a sigh of relief. Or was it a groan?

I’ve enjoyed having the blog as a focus and a forum for sharing ideas and opinions. And I’m sure I shall have as many opinions in the heart of the city as I do from the top of a mountain!

It will be difficult to say goodbye to this life. I am already trying to work out how soon I can return. But, like Thoreau, I have other lives to lead, and have no more time for this one. At least for now.

I am looking forward to recording the music that I have written while I’ve been here. There is well over an album’s worth. I’m also looking forward to a horizontal floor, a hot shower in the morning, and a 24 hour shop around the corner (I keep strange hours).

I’ll be in the UK for about ten days, and they will be a busy ten days. Aside from looking in on friends and family, I will also be doing a couple of sessions for web TV channels in London (Balcony TV and Get Closer), and doing a live web chat for Gigwise, where you will be able to write in and ask me questions. I’ll post more details on those as I have them.

Earlier today, as I sat watching the river run through my kitchen (see video), I was reflecting on how quickly I have forgotten how to be in a city. This yurt life has become normal now, and it’s rhythms and relationships are where I feel comfortable. This place allows an opening of the heart. Cities demand a cutting off and closing down.

I remember getting back to the city after attending Glastonbury festival for the first time. Filled to the brim with peace and love, I was mugged within a few hours. Oh Manchester, so much to answer for.

All was not lost though. I was penniless so had no presents for the muggers, and even managed to put my arm around one of them and ask him why he was being so nasty. The knives remained in their jeans and I lived to hug another day...

The Spanish words I have learnt here are indicative of the life I have led: firewood, countryside, spring, olive oil, chainsaw, rain, sun, wind, stove, stars, village, friend, electricity superhighway. I wonder which words I would know had I moved to Barcelona?

Still, I will be going to a city that I have never lived in before (Vancouver, Canada) which is hemmed in by mountains on one side and the sea on the other. So things could be worse! I’ll also be living in a co-housing community which was built using lots of reclaimed materials, has a communal meditation room and recycles its greywater. I’m interested in exploring potential solutions to the environmental crisis that can be lived by everyone, so am excited to see what a city-based community like this has to offer.

We are on this planet for a brief time, and this time seems to be a pivotal one for humanity, and for the planet at large. This is a responsibility, but also an exciting opportunity. I hope we will rise to the challenge. This involves a change of thinking, a change of values, and a change of behaviour. The change is already beginning to happen, but this is one situation where we do in fact need bigger better faster more.

The good news is that it doesn’t require everyone in the world to get it. If five or ten per cent of us change our lives, great change will happen. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela. History is full of the names of people who got a crew together and changed history. They were always in the minority, but a minority is all it takes.

Change is inevitable – we just need to steer it towards a future that works. Don’t wait for the governments of the world to get with the programme. And don’t wait for big business. We are the power. They will follow us.

Thanks to all of you who have read the blog so far, for the many words of encouragement you have sent, and for the sharing of ideas. See you when I’m back in the world!

Perhaps it is fitting that I should end this chapter of the blog with Thoreau’s final words in Walden:

“I do not say that John or Jonathan will realise all this; such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”

Or, if that doesn’t do it for you, perhaps you will resonate more with the succinct sign off of the great (though perhaps a little Bush-esque in his approach to inter-galactic relations) Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise: “Kirk out”.


RetaBurrita said...

Kind of sorry to hear you are beaming up, and still I am wishing you only the best of things in your different life. I hope you will keep blogging. Interesting to hear what you have to say.

Padma said...

Thanks Reta. Yes I'm pretty sad to have left the yurt (and the lifestyle). Music to be made though! And I am hoping to be back there in a few months time. And yes, I will be continuing with the blog.

jason palmer said...

coniston, the lake district, they have a campsite, and a museum, about john ruskin