In October 2009, I went on a 10-day trip to Austria with my adopted nephew Aji Palar. I taught two workshops with Jon Young – a weekend workshop on Peacemaking, and a week long called Cultural Mentoring (with an emphasis on family). Traveling to other parts of the world, and meeting people who also have a desire and vision for resilient community, have shown me that this is a universal need at this time. The cool thing is that they have pieces that we don’t, and we have pieces that they don’t. I’d like to take some time and share with you what those pieces are.
Sense of place. On our way from the airport, Ron Bachman, co-founder of the Natur and Wildnisschule Der Alpen rolled out a beautiful story about one of the seven sacred mountains of Tyrol.
Local language and Local song. There is a strong connection to the language, history and music of their place. To know that the yodel we sang was from Tyrol specifically, a place half the size of massachusetts, set my imagination in motion. What would it be like to create a strong sense of heritage in Southern Vermont ? How would that feel to grow up in a place that knew about its land, language, history and song ?
Local Food. Frank, the son of a butcher, could tell you about the local dish that used an upper thigh portion of a juvenile male cow. The dried sausage meats and cheeses are served for breakfast, or anytime of day really. The refrigerator was 20% the size of the average U.S. fridge. These things pointed to a time not so long ago that food was preserved and stored without the need for electricity, made from local animals right there on the valley slopes.