I had such a wonderful almost-spring day today, running errands on foot and having many of the kinds of incidental social interactions that come from living in a small neighborhood. I walked several blocks chatting with a friend who I ran into on my way to my eye doctor appointment, ran into another friend in the co-op and arranged a massage trade for next week, got hollers from two separate friends on two separate trolleys passing me as I walked, had an in-depth conversation with another friend who was cashiering during my second visit to the co-op. This is what West Philly is like.
Tonight I saw Silvia Federici, who wrote the book Caliban and the Witch, speak at a community space near my house about healing work, self-care, capitalism, and movements. Her book is about capitalism and the body, and she was talking about the ways that historically, capitalism has expanded through de-naturalizing the body, disconnecting people from each other and the natural world. That for most of human history, people have co-evolved in relationship to nature, and have built knowledge, resistances, and desires that capitalism destroys, in so many ways – by separating people, by de-collectivizing the day-to-day work of living, by individualizing the experiences (like birth, death, disease) in which we most need to feel connected to other people. That industrial capitalism broke the connection between work and seasons, used electric light to extend the workday, kept people from seeing the sky. As humans who have evolved in relationship to the seasons and stars and weather, she said, we need to see the sky.
This seems as good a time as any to mention that I am moving to Maine, to live in a house near the ocean with my mom and brother, one town over from my aunt and uncle’s farm. I’m moving because the pain of being so far away from my family of origin is starting to distract me from the joy of living in this tiny interconnected neighborhood with so much of my chosen family. And because what feels the most important to me right now is to build supportive community with the people who raised me. And because sharing resources with my family means I can spend less time working for money and more time doing the work that sustains me and the people and the movements that I care about. And because I know that in order to continue to do the work I want to do, I need to be able to see the sky, and forests, and the ocean. There is much to be said about this (and much to be discovered) but for now, here is a picture of my mom and her partner on a walk by the ocean. This is what I’m moving towards.