becoming a generalist

becoming a generalist in the culture of the specialist is a growing revolution. in reskilling we discover both autonomy and connection. ecologically, economically, the era demands that we learn to make more of what we need, in our communities, with local materials, with our own hands.

once, a village might have taught us more than any school. with elders, mentors, by sharing work or just through living. in stepping away from schooling, in reinventing our children’s education and through that, our own, a natural pattern of learning-in-place, within the community, emerged. this is now an experimental act of self-education, of becoming autodidacts, lifelong learners.

learning to brew is one of those skills that i’m practicing, without expertise, with just enough knowledge cobbled from books, conversations, watching, learning wherever i can, in snippets of time i might find in our days. studies often draw directly from the land, as the trees provide such bounty there’s nothing to do but drop everything and pay attention.

in learning to brew country wine we meet a series of challenges. in a small way we reckon with a world where the expert, the company, the corporation makes everything for us, just as we play audience to the singer, the actor, customer to the clothing shop, the restaurant, the supermarket. follower to the leader.

what did people used to do, traditionally, before the industrial stepped in?

we change the world when we join in and brew, sing, write, sew, cook, grow, act.

in experimenting with flavours from what grows around us, we begin to arrive, to become grounded. to actually eat and drink from our surroundings is a radical act of reconnection.

in reviving traditional skills in everyday life, we need only know enough to begin. we can start small. most skills are astonishingly basic, at the outset. one may become an expert, but what’s wanted now is sufficient self-reliance to make what’s needed, with a pleasing immediacy that simplifies how we live and our impact on the earth. pick, press, culture, ferment, all right here.

so we remake our world with our own hands.