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A Superstruct 2019 story: Another Stray

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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:04 pm    Post subject: A Superstruct 2019 story: Another Stray Reply with quote

Another Stray (

Another Stray. Another mouth to feed, I suppose, but cats can pretty much look out for themselves. Where Tina found this one, I can't imagine. It's not like there are suburbs nearby. I'll check around tonight, but folks around here don't put much store in the notion of "pets". Animals have to "pull their own weight", and cats, expecially if you have enough, and especially a scrawny one like this, are pretty marginal.

I'll let him join Boriska and Natasha under the front porch, as if I had any choice in the matter. When Tina and Fate collude, I've learned not to interfere. It's funny. It seems like I've come full circle. I remember back in the 1990's, what was that, 30 years ago (can that be possible?), when there was so much abundance that people bought bigger houses just to hold it all, and filled their garages, basements, attics, and even storage pods with it. All the while, there was a feeling of scarcity, of it never being enough.

Now, even though there's so much scarcity and hardship, I sometimes feel like there is enough to go around. I feel truly lucky and grateful when I have that feeling of surplus, and when I can give something to someone who values it more than I do. In a way, I think that's why I came here, to shake off that feeling of scarcity that seemed inescapable in the city. Some of my friends were surprised when I left, ten years ago next April, but a few knew I'd come out here eventually. Even as a teenager, back in the '70s, this part of central Oregon drew me to it. The exposed rock, high chapparal terrain isn't much good for anything, really, but generations of ranchers have proven their muscles and bones against it, pulling up a livelihood out of the soil and the animals that walk on it.

Its so much easier for me, I know. Water for irrigation makes all the difference, and that is what makes it all work for me and my strays. Of course water is just the second most important human need, and there's plenty of air here, thank you, so technology makes all the rest of the difference. In a land with temperture extremes like this, and as remote as this, heating, cooling, and fuel for vehicles are top priorities. I tend to take the Chinese menu approach: a little wind, a little solar PV, solar thermal, fuel alcohol from sugar beets, and now hydrogen. There's enough to barter with neighbors, and to run the Superstruct InterWeb Transponder and community infolink for ten miles up and down the valley.

I suppose that even when I'm 80, and lived here 30+ years they'll still think of me as a "newcomer", and I'm all right with that. Even in the short time I've been here, we've learned from each other; changed each other. When "Chance" arrived 7 years ago, and offered to help with the farming, we built a dome for him near Big Rock Face. Others have found their way here over the years, always adding some element that we hadn't known was missing, then staying or going as their path took them.

I sometimes wonder if I would have been better off staying in the city. It has to be said that hopefulness has fueled our little community, but the years have bred a sadness in me that also cannot be denied. The outside world seems poised on self-destruction, and every year that destruction seems to draw nearer to our valley. The one thing that unites us is the desire to push back against that darkness, especially by working with the online Survivancy Directorate. There are so many good people, I think. How can we not prevail against the superthreats that face us?

Tina's ready for help making dinner. She was born and raised in this country, the next valley over, but left to see the world, that is, before I knew her. She came back, but in some ways it seems like she's never really left this hardscrabble terrain. You get the sense that she knows she's right where she belongs. Even though it was me that took her in when she came back from seeing the world, sometimes it feels like I'm the stray.
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