September 01, 2008

An interesting Story...


In the seventies Gwen Roland and Calvin Voisin left the turmoil of modern life and moved to the nation’s largest river swamp, Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin. I saw a documentary about their experiences on pbs this weekend. The production was engrossing, much like that of the documentary about Dick Proenneke, who left society and lived alone in the Alaskan wilderness for most of his life.Gwen was about to start work on her doctorate when she decided to fore go modern life and live off the land. Armed with the book "How to Build Your Home in the Woods" and very few tools, Gwen and Calvin built a houseboat on a barge. They lived there for six years, with no electricity or running water. They met several characters in the swamp and seemed to lead an eventful life communing with nature. Alcide Verret was a loner who lived in the swamp. They met him and formed a relationship, Alcide would cook a huge lunch every Sunday in hopes that someone would drop by and visit. Photographer C.C. Lockwood would later meet the couple and document portions of their life in the swamp in some amazing photo essays.

It's easy to get lost in the romanticism that would encompass such a simple existence, but who among us would really be able to live like this. Raising your own food - gardens, hunting, fishing, gathering crawfish... It would be a tough life. Could you imagine living in a swamp in Louisiana with no air conditioning?
































If you get the chance to see this documentary, take a look at it. I am going to check for the book next time I'm at the book store...






Even though I'm sure it was a tough life, I'm sure it was a great experience. I'm brought back to the series on PBS that took families to live like they were on the frontier... There was a family with various relationship issues which had a very rough go of it. Two teen daughters and their parents living in a one room cabin for several months, they fought constantly.. But when the show came to an end and they went home, they felt lonely in their new house (that was being built while they were away)... The house was large, with all the latest and greatest of everything.. Yet they felt bad about it and wound up congregating together like they had in the cabin... Something to be said for a life based on true emotional ties rather than keeping up with the neighbor's material goods...

3 comments:

The Angry Georgian said...

Something I've always considered doing. I'd love to just homestead some place in Alaska and stay away from civilization.

HeartofGoldPlate said...

If you ever decide to live off the land, I'll do the photo essay. :D

LADY ROOTS said...

Idren Clay,
When we moved to a rural mountain district on the south coast of Jamaica in 1997, there was no electricity. We went from living in an overly congested, overly populated, overly commercialized area of south Florida to a quiet, natural existance in the Jamaican mountains. Washing clothes by hand, cooking in a dutch pot on a 3-stone fire and growing our own food was a blessing after more than 25 years in corporate America.

If you believe in yourself and in each other you can make any transition you both want.

Bless Up,
Lady Roots