I've been thinking a lot lately about my time on the Appalachian Trail. It has to do with this crazy reading list I'm spending so much time on. I have come to realize that preppers and postapocalyptica are absolutely robust in Western North Carolina. A lot of PA fiction is set in this area and there is a vast network of people preparing for everything from minor hurricanes to the end of the world and I am really trying to understand the cultural elements of Appalachia that lead to this sort of behavior which sometimes collapses into delusion. I have some working theories that are still percolating so I'll hold off on those, but something interesting did happen the other day.
I was sitting with my grandmother discussing the late 50s and early 60s when there was so much nuclear threat/bomb scare culture in America. She was talking about how everyone was preparing for a bombing. She said she even put water in a cave for her family. She's a very practical woman and for her to have searched out a cave and prepped it a little was really surprising to me. I was trying to understand the psychology of that and in asking her about it, she talked about protecting her family, but more so, she talked about the importance of civic duty. She didn't use the term civic duty, but she peppered her language with it. People thought of preparing as a way to support the wider community. It was very interesting and plays into the many concerns I have about some of the more patriarchal post apocalyptic fiction out there, critique to come at a later date, to be sure.
She also told me that one of the justifications for building the parkway was a last line of defense from invasion in the east. She said it was all built railroad grade and said that the workers talked about being able to move Washington out of D.C. Maybe this feeds into the Appalachian prepper stuff? I wish I could find a scholar who studied this disaster preparedness and fear in Appalachia.
Anyway, I'm still in it and still enjoying it. I spend the evening reading and researching this weird obsession and then spend the day working leather, which I absolutely love. I've been really working leather for about 9 months, and I love it more every day. I'm still sewing and woodworking and using resins, some, but right now, leather has my heart.
I got my methylcellulose in yesterday, so I'm hoping to do some old school dying on hitachi silk sometime soon. It's a Japanese technique called Suminagashi, and I dig it. Pancho and Lefty just came on the radio. :)