Interesting times out here in Nowheresville. And by that I mean, things are dull. Like doldrums. Can’t explain it…just NOT exciting. Interesting, still, of course, but no sense of activity. It’s like our collective feet are stuck or something.
It’s almost June. You can count the number of recreational boats that have gone by on one hand. And there have been kayakers but only one gaggle so far. Not the half dozen or so that even last year presented. And there has been only one single, lone paddler and that was about a week ago. Typically, we see the iconic sole adventurer times five or six by now. Air traffic has also been less. Even the commercial prawners seem to be working at skeleton crew level. It’s been a very slow start to the busy season.
In theory that should be fine with me. And it is. I am seeking out people less and less these days. Quiet is good. But this isn’t about me. It’s about the rest of the recreational public. They just ain’t here. I have noticed a drop off in the hoi polloi for the last decade but the numbers seemed to level off about three or so years ago. We had fewer passers by but we still had a countable, noticeable number every day. This year days go by and no one enters our vision – and this with the Dog-who-alerts-us to every passing mammal even if it is a just another seal. Trust me; we know who comes and goes.
I have several theories about why this is so but the reasons don’t matter. There are fewer people working and recreating out here and that statistic has been well established over several decades. That this year is even slower is simply part of a long trending decline in human activity both recreational and commercial.
Things will pick up, of course. Our August is already full and, if they are coming to visit us, others are going to visit others and still others will come and go. We’ll get people. But this is an unseasonably slow start. Weird. It’s feels like a portent of something…
…the calm before the storm? Or the calm before the death?
Ironically, a new TV series has been announced: America Unplugged (Sportsman Channel). I am not sure what it is about (it has yet to premier and we don’t have TV anyway) but the ads indicate that it will be ‘hosted’ and that it will feature families (some with ‘gasp’ children!) who intentionally live off the grid. They even had an excerpt from some discussion whereby the interviewee claimed to be able to survive forever with only a big sharp knife to aid him. Oooh, tough guy stuff. If the series is about eating bugs and tree bark in the rain while wasting away in front of a TV crew, it will be short-lived (as will be the star of the show). But if it is about people like us, it will be interesting to at least people like us – who don’t have TVs and who number in the 00’s. So, short-lived either way is my prediction.
I just discovered Wretha and husband at Wrethaoffgrid.something and they are four years into much the same adventure as us. West Texas. Learning the same lessons. Loving it. But, like us, they are amazed at how few actually do it. Oh well…………
Conclusion: living off the grid is NOT popular. Never will be. Visiting (trekking, hiking, camping, kayaking) off the grid is becoming less popular than it used to be and may end all together. Which makes sense: no people living out here, no visitors. No residents no visitors, fewer resources to strip and exploit equals less people altogether.
And then the forest can heal. The oceans can become rich again. Then the people will come. And the cycle may repeat. Simba, Mustafa.