One of my favorite film clips from the 1960’s shows a local NorCal logger being asked by a reporter about the influx of back-to-landers into
Politically incorrect? Sure. But his heart’s in the right place.
“A community is a container which hopefully has room for all.”
With a wonderful turn-of-phrase like this one, is it any wonder LARABEE is one of my favorite blogs?
Swallowtail is referencing my recent post on the Fourth of July Parade in Mendocino, and how amazed and inspired I was by the collision-turned-embrace between the back-to-landers and the residents of the county who preceded them. She correctly points out that the back-to-landers were able to successfully integrate into the community up here without losing their identity, and brought with them their unique perspective on the world - much of which was embraced by the locals.
She’s right, of course. And of course, the back-to-landers couldn’t have made it up here without locals who were willing to teach them some pretty non-hippie skills like hunting and fishing and clearing land to farm. Philosophically speaking, the locals taught the hippies that sometimes you have to bend your ideals a little in favor of practicality, and that hard work and perseverance can be its own reward.
This is not to suggest that the back-to-landers didn’t meet up with their fair share of hostility. Nor do I mean to imply that there’s no lingering conflicts. For instance, I still get really bent out of shape over the fact that some local businesses are in denial about how much of their income comes from the local cannabis industry. Cannabis is another thing the back-to-landers brought with them, and while there are those who frown on it, with the loss of logging and fishing up here, growing is now the main driver of the local economy. In fact, the legalization and taxation of cannabis could single-handedly save the entire state from its current financial crisis. Hippies to the rescue!!
Yet there are those community leaders up here who get heart palpations at the thought of a
For the most part, however, people do a good job up here of finding common ground and pulling together. Sticking with the cannabis example - while there are exceptions - most local businesses realize that a large percentage of the money in this area is spent by the local growers. Many will extend credit to farmers, and lots of them help the local growers in times of crisis - like providing generators and fuel during power outages, for example.
What I want to emphasize most is that each of these groups has had a positive and lasting impact on the other - for generations now. That’s why it’s possible today to use the word hippie lovingly, and why the gift shop in
Because like that lumberjack, we have learned that having a sense of humor about one another is essential to our survival. If we can’t laugh at our differences, after all, we might start yelling. And frankly, enough of this country is engaged in the yelling business. I’m glad we’re more invested in the laughing up here.