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(en) US, Minneapolis, DAYBREAK #6 - Columns: Sarah

Date Mon, 06 Jun 2005 09:58:18 +0300

One morning this fall I was awakened in the dark by a giant
crash. ‘Holy Jesus,’ I thought, ‘there’s a bear in my house.’
After waking up a bit I decided it must be a log settling
in my stove, or maybe the goddamn mice breaking into my
cupboards. But the noise was still there, coming from outside and
sort of like an industrial strength food processor. I stumbled out of
my toasty bed and tiptoed to the door with my flashlight. I expected
to turn it on and find a frightening monster clawing at my house. I
flicked on the light and looked around nervously. No monster, but
off to the side I saw a beaver! It had nearly dropped a tree on my
house and was diligently knawing away on its new prize. I had
never heard such a racket! Slowly, my attempted assassin dragged
the tree away and down into the mud.

Last winter I thought long and hard about how to move forward
with my plan to get land in northern Minnesota. After much
thought I decided to move to a town four hours from Minneapolis
in an attempt to get a feel for full time life in the country. See if I
could make it, I guess. In August I moved into a little cabin in the
woods and began making it my home. I also began attending
school, something I believed I would never do. The decision to
move far away from my Minneapolis home and all the people I
loved was difficult and there are still days when I wonder what the
fuck I’m doing, but little events in day to day life make the
change more bearable.

Living alone, especially in an isolated setting, is not something
many of us in the city ever experience. I used to eat mostly free
food, cook with and for my friends, and almost always had
someone in the house to talk to, or at least someone in biking
distance. It’s an interesting transition to now pay for a large
majority of my food, make long distance phone calls, and drive
everywhere. Someone asked me what my projects have been since
I’ve moved. I wish I could say I’ve been working on all
sorts of great DIY skills but really I’m just trying to feed myself
healthy food and stay warm, do good in my studies and spend time
outside in order to stay sane through these dark winter months.

I grew up in a house with wood heat, but I was never really
responsible for any part of the process. With the help of lovely
friends and my rockin’ dad, I cut, chopped and stacked all my
firewood this fall. I have to admit that I was not an expert fire
starter, and for the first few months I hated my woodstove with a
passion. I couldn’t get the fires started and every time I opened
the door, smoke would pour out, filling my house ‘til I had to
open the windows. On many occasions I would end up crying in a
heap on the floor in front of the cold stove. Finally I would convince
myself to try in once more, only to punch the stove in its gaping
metally jaw, and scream obscenities at it. So fires are a bit easier to
start these days but I still can’t regulate the temperature and
end up dancing around to Grandmaster Flash in an 85 degree

Now that I live alone I have to find ways to entertain myself. I
like to make funny faces at myself in the bathroom mirror and
laugh at my own small misfortunes. After playing in the snow one
day, I hung my slightly damp pants to dry in the shower. Hours
later, when I returned to put them back on; I found them dripping
wet from a leaky faucet. I thought this was hilarious and laughed
and laughed out loud at myself.

One day I decided it was too cold to cut kindling outside. Instead I
held the kindling between my stocking feet to steady it for my
hatchet. I knew it was silly since I’m not that slick with hand
eye coordination. Of course I hit myself in the shin and blood
spurted everywhere through my stripey pajama pants, horror movie
style. Ok, well maybe it didn’t spurt, but it bled a lot and I
couldn’t go up or down the stairs for a few days.

When I left Minneapolis I felt completely disenchanted and
critical of the anarchist scene, but since I was in the city for a bit
over the holiday I realized that there are people doing really great
things there. I attended a discussion on sexual violence in the
radical community put on by a group called Dealing With Our Shit.
It was similar to most forums I’ve been to on this topic, we
started from square one and really didn’t come to any concrete
conclusions. However, near the end, people mentioned the various
small groups they participate in which discuss topics from sexual
assult to positive body image. Even if our steps are tiny, we are
slowly creating something huge that the rest of western civilization
lacks. As a person who plans to live outside of the city indefinitely,
I realize that I need to continue to be a part of a community.
Whether that means bringing the Minneapolis anarchist scene with
me, finding a new community of folks where I go, or a bit of both, I
think it’s important to have the support of people who care
about you. To set up a network of folks who are there to catch you
when you fall.

Ultimately, moving to northern Minnesota has been a wonderful
experience where I’ve had a chance to get to know my own
needs and desires and to feel empowered and strong. Confident in
my own decisions. I have also learned how important the support of
my loved ones is to me. How important a community as a whole
can be., to secretly monitor their neighbors. At the same time, this
neighborhood has received a $975,000 CityKids grant for life skills
training and summer programs for local youth. The document
indicates that they would run this youth program out of the same
house as a way to obscure the presence of the undercover cops and
that the kids would provide free labor to maintain the house, do
laundry, clear snow and provide lawn care. This house will be
dubbed the Community Learning Center--but it seems to us it is
the cops who will do most of the "learning."
Daybreak is an anarchist tabloid put out from Minneapolis.

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