A Letter from Charlie
The Great Transition is being made as we speak. In Lakeville, Connecticut the Great Transition to sustainability, permacultures, resilience in everything that matters (highest standards of humor, musicality, plenty of mighty trees to admire, excess energy in the local grid, etc,) has been ongoing for over a century!
150 years ago all the trees had been turned to charcoal for local iron making furnaces (and then the first Bessemer steel?), smoke, soot, grey skies everywhere, desolation, fires burning 24-7 in the hills making the last piles of charcoal. Then it went to Pittsburgh and Lakevillians began to make a long, slow, recovery that has culminated in recent decades with the reappearance of all the animals, pileated woodpeckers, too many geese, too many turkeys, too many deer, bear, a moose came through our yard a few weeks after my father died and took a swim in Lakeville’s lake. We have a sawmill in Falls Village, for local timber. My wife Angie calls them Potempkin forests but they are real enough, old growth enough, for those giant pileated woodpeckers.
We just need to tap the streams with “small hydro” put up some old fashioned windmills, use the “factory brook” again, inventory and expand orchards, greenhouses, permaculture some stands of nut trees. We can be an exemplary “transition town” very quickly because we have been in recovery from Western civilization since before the early 1900s.
As it got prettier in mid 20th century Wanda Landowska, the world’s best harpsichordist came to live here. And so did the world’s most productive writer, eventually the world’s most profitable writer, Georges Simenon, spent the 5 happiest years of his life here. We’ve been chock full of well-being pace setters since the 1950s. More recently the reincarnation of Tromboncino gave us a lakeside recital.
And so it goes in Lakeville, once known as Furnace Village, and now an emerging leader of The Great Transition.
If a town of less than 2000 people, most big houses empty most of the year, can do it, then so can your town, neighborhood, or block of a city.