As recently as yesterday afternoon, we’d planned to take today to replenish our onboard supply of propane. Our plan was based on the weather forecast, of course, looking at five straight nights (beginning tonight) below freezing.
Well, we reconsidered. I suggested that we could get through tomorrow morning (30°F) and Saturday morning (29°F) with the electric heat pumps, and Deb agreed. Saturday will be chilly but dry and sunny, so we’ll take care of the refill then and be ready for a couple of overnights dropping to near 20°F.
With no more cold-cold nights on the horizon, it’ll be the season’s last fillup. We’ll have gotten ten weeks from this tank, much more efficient than last year, and we feel good about that.
Our trip to The Mountain yesterday was peaceful as peaceful could be. I sorely needed that time, in particular because on our previous visit I wasn’t able to connect to the stillness I always feel there. I didn’t find solace.
I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because we occupied ourselves with evaluating excavation of the homesite. It might’ve been my mood at the time.
Wednesday on the high ground was different. It was quiet, the lack of wind making it virtually silent. The winter woods, still bare, showed soft green hints of spring.
We walked. We played with the puppy. We sat in the warming sun and we smiled, enjoying an oh-so-simple repast of meat and cheese.
At the summit, cares evaporated. The world did not intrude. I hope you have a place like that.
Best of all, the peace remains with me now.
Today it’s raining here at the campground. That’s fine. I expect we’ll return to The Mountain either Sunday or early next week.
Yesterday I promised to say more about a basic principle: “If you can’t hold it in your hand, you don’t own it.” That begins today, with some observations about legal tender.
I remember my father saving his pocket change — at the end of every day he’d take whatever he had and put it in a drawer or a jar. It may have been only a few cents a day, sometimes a dollar or a little more. When Deb went through her late father’s possessions after his death, she discovered that he’d done much the same thing.
I suspect the ritual was grounded in the Depression era, both men having seen the result of failed banks and politicians taking America off the gold standard. Or it could’ve been ordinary frugality, maybe continuing a habit that began with a childhood piggy bank. But it added up — and no matter what happened, they could hold that currency in their hands.
Most of us don’t do that anymore. We don’t use change for vending machines like we did when I was a kid, and with the transformation of transactions into a plastic proposition, coins have become more of a nuisance than an asset.
We just don’t pay with actual cash as often as we once did.
In fact, the feds are very close to imposing “central bank digital currency,” or CBDC, which would disfigure savings and shackle commerce. They say it’d be no big deal, since most Americans depend on digital money anyway.
But that’s not money. It’s numbers on apps and websites, addition and subtraction in the air, nothing more than Monopoly money. It’s beyond an individual’s control and, ultimately, it’s not real unless Big Brother — in the form of government or institutions — says it’s real.
Don’t believe me? Try buying a loaf of bread with a debit card during a power outage. Try trading stocks after the feds’ “breakers” kick in. Try withdrawing cash from an ATM when you’ve forgotten your PIN.
You might be ok with government and State-regulated institutions holding all the cards. I’m not.
(And no, crypto is not a solution.)
Now, specific to legal tender… have some. Have as much as you securely and responsibly can, in your personal possession. While in today’s society it may not be easy to eliminate completely the use of virtual “funny money,” I can assure you that it is possible to reduce one’s exposure to surveillance and control, while increasing autonomy and personal independence.
If you must deposit money, put it in a local or community bank. Do business with independent shops or directly with individuals, paying in cash whenever possible. (That’s especially prudent, of course, when engaging in transactions in which the State takes an intolerable or unconstitutional interest.)
And put cash aside. Make a habit of it. Then, don’t touch it. When (not if) the grid is down for a week or society (as we know it) collapses for the foreseeable future, someday you’ll be glad you did.
Just remember — at some point, under extreme and perhaps unimaginable circumstances, legal tender may not be worth a damned thing. That’s when you’ll have to hold something else in your hands.
Watch this space for more on that.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.