Thursday, May 6, 2021

choosing drifting

a shantyboat community by the river's edge.  

After building their "shantyboat," out of mostly salvaged materials, 
Harlan and Anna set out on the river, 

I had no theories to prove. 
I merely wanted to try living by my own hands, 
independent as far as possible from a system of division of labor 
in which the participant loses most of the pleasure 
of making and growing things for himself.  
I wanted to bring in my own fuel and smell its sweet smoke 
as it burned on the hearth I had made.  
I wanted to grow my own food, 
catch it in the river, or forage after it.  
In short, I wanted to do as much as I could for myself, 
because I had already realized from partial experience 
the inexpressible joy of so doing.

This is a windy day with a secret exhilaration about it. 
When I look at the rough water patched with cloud shadows, 
the boat pitching slightly in the wind waves -
 all this from a higher plane somewhere above these little affairs.  
Yet they are a part and lead into it. 

The pure delight of drifting.  
Each time, it was a thrill to shove out into the current, 
to feel the life and power of the river, 
whose beginning and end were so remote.  
We became a part of it, like the driftwood... 
The tension and excitement, the near ecstasy of drifting.  
We had to stop often and take it in small doses.

~ Harlan Hubbard
from Harlan Hubbard and the River - A Visionary Life
by Don Wallis
block prints by Harlan Hubbard