If I had my druthers, I'd live in pre-Columbian America. I've always had an affinity for all things Indian and Native. I've also acquired some of the skills they used such as brain tanning and flint knapping.
One of the most least understood aspects of life back then was trade. Tobacco was considered sacred by many tribes so it was traded far and wide. Flint for arrowheads was prized. The Blackfeet of the upper Mississippi river region didn't produce anything for trade. They had a monopoly on the trade routes around the river, so they skimmed off the top.
I would have loved to have been part of a system like that. Villages were very organized. The plains tribes even developed a sign language as a common way to communicate with differing tongues.
Then came Senor Columbus...
So, what era of history would you loved to have lived in and why?
I'm stuck in the late 1700s and early 1800s. I love reading about that time period when pioneers were hitching up oxen, mules, and horses to covered wagons so that they could become settlers in the new lands.
One of my ancestors was one of the people that provided those wagons for them since he was a wagon builder in Missouri.
I like to imagine how a family with 13 children could live in a wagon until they got their house built. I actually have decided that they must have had more than one wagon.
I like learning about how they prepared foods from basic staples that they could carry in those wagons and how they cooked on campfires to make homemade breads.
I also like learning about their music. The instruments they played and the songs that they sang around those campfires.
Invasive plants are Earth's way of insisting we notice her medicines. Stephen Herrod Buhner
Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work. Stephen Herrod Buhner
Arrrgh! Not a fair question for a history teacher! I can think of so many interesting times to have lived in.
Naturally I have an affinity for the romanticized pioneer era when land seemed plentiful and free. The romanticized part is important though as there were significant obstacles. Land very far west of the Mississippi typically lacked trees for building materials or firewood. If one was in the Great Plains, grass fires were a regular hazard (usually started by lightning). Good access to water was also an issue.
And the family of 13 probably only had one wagon, but only Ma, baby and 1-2 young kids rode. The rest either rode horses or more likely walked. The wagon was kinda like the SUV of the day but packed to the gills with whatever the family took with them.
Still, there is something appealing about starting out anew.
As a blacksmith I enjoy learning about early Iron Age history, and on up into the 1800's. But I really like the simplicity of the early Iron Age, they farmed, they fought, they explored. And the people of the time had good knives and axes to do it with.
Be Content. And work for more time, not money. Money is inconsequential.
Oh, I like bits and bobs from here and there, but honestly, today has lots to be said for it, despite the problems.
I mean, I love steampunk and aspects of Victorian fashion. I am more enamoured of the idea of the universal generalist. I forget what term they applied to these people generally, but I'm talking about those usually wealthy individuals who were horticulturalists, chemists, astronomers, engineers, entrepreneurs, fabricators and builders by their own hands, who were interdisciplinarians because that was the only way to get done what they needed to get done.
I can't love steampunk without acknowledging that most of what I enjoy reading has its source material in workhouses for children and the indebted, a gaping chasm of privilege and wealth between the aristocracy and everyone else, mysogyny, classism, racism, and the ills of colonialism.
One of my favourite fictional time periods occurs in the works of S.M. Stirling. I have referenced Island in the Sea of Time elsewhere on this site. That trilogy is definitely worth a read.
It concerns the island of Nantucket, circa March, 1998, along with a coast guard ship, being sent back to the Bronze Age to meet, among others, Odysseus, and to forge an empire on their bedrock of Nantucket-flavoured old-stock american values. Stirling does better than it might sound. The era ends up being a mash-up of early-to-high medieval tech redesigned with modern understandings of ergonomics and mechanical advantage for the first bit of it, and settles on an Iron Age-meets-Industrial Revolution with a sustainable lens.
I think, in the light of the aforementioned fictional work, we have yet to create my favourite era of history.
Imagine an appropriate technology approach, a cradle-to-cradle circular economy mentality, with no manufactured economic externalities like social costs or environmental damage.
Imagine additive production taking the place of methods that create waste that must either be recycled or disposed of.
We're talking about cities being transformed to have minimalistic physical footprints, encompassing single, massive structures called arcologies, towering city-buildings that incorporate living elements to produce a healthy internal living environment, where air, water, and biomass exiting the structure leave cleaner than they enter, and where every resident of these arcologies is but an elevator ride away from home, work, shopping, entertainment, culture, and also parklike natural settings transitioning to managed wild lands and intensive, horticulturally-minded family farms.
We're also talking about islands grown from biorock by drones that add to their structure and mass at need, that serve as homes to displaced peoples, as inverted coral reefs, and as filters for the environment, where people work to strain plastic from the seas, to incinerate cleanly at sufficiently high temperatures, to feedenergy back into the system, and again, where everything leaving the island left cleaner than it arrived.
How about 1000-tonne cargo capacity solar electric airships with a cryogenic drivetrain and magnetic battery storage, hydrogen lift, and probably some type of atmospheric differential pressure drive, capable of altering its envelope profile to adapt to changing wind conditions, and to take off and land without a ground crew or infrastructure. Imagine an aircraft with the speed of a jet carrying a freighters' worth of cargo straight-line, over land and sea, and not hitting or deafening the sea life.
Maybe high-speed solar-electric trains with the same cryogenic drivetrain and magnetic battery storage, connecting coasts and all points between, taking people wherever they're going, even ferrying their cars around, and leaving much more land around available for rewilding projects.
Imagine watching a herd of four million bison go by, knowing that they won't pass your way again until they've migrated the whole length of the corridor up to the North West Territories, where they meet the Great Canadian Mammophant and turn back around. Imagine beaver, and by extension, salmon, returning to their rightful places as respected and protected keystone species that, in turn, protected and fed us, like the bison.
Now I'll go into experimental territory. Imagine breeding an icewine grape varietal whose skin-native yeasts had been chosen for their high alcohol tolerance, a grape that would ferment on the vine at a high ABV, and freeze solid, at which time harvest would occur. The bunches would be dropped into a cold press and squeezed, and all that would come out would be fairly potent alcohol, technically grape jack (after apple jack, which you get by freezing alcoholic cider and pouring off what doesn't freeze).
Pair that with engines designed or tweaked to run on that alcohol, and I see homestead energy independence, and by extension, domestic energy self-sufficiency. I see resilient and sustainable whole living systems design.
So yeah. The era of history that appeals to me most is the one we can create together. I can't wait.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Pre-industrial agriculture would be nice. Also, I'd prefer to experience life without any sort of governing structure or large-scale communities. A carefree, nomadic lifestyle wherein I could wander about, feeding myself with the naturally occurring bounty of the planet and discovering beautiful places that are new to me and unspoiled.
“Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.”
I was born 10 to 20 years too late. I love big band and 50s music. There was certainly an underground interest in the Have More Plan, the Nearings, and others. The Alaskan Highway was a gravel road. The family doctor made house calls and stayed for dinner.
Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. Mark Twain
I would like to be a late 1800s American pioneer like some of my ancestors or maybe not. I enjoy growing food, making clothes, or making stuff in general. I also appreciate the fact that if my garden fails, we won't starve. I can still go to the store if I have to.
Basically, I enjoy doing things like the American pioneers, but I'm also thankful my survival doesn't depend on it.
You all should also look into history-bounding. There's a wide range of definitions, but a lot of it is about incorporating historical clothing items into everyday wear. I'm working on a cotton button-down dress from a 1950's reproduction pattern right now. I like the look and practicality of the dress itself, but the fabric waste from making something fitted is crazy! All fabric will be saved for quilts of course. I'll go for something older and less fitted for my next project.
“Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with colored flowers and herbs” St. Francis of Assisi
He does not suffer fools gladly. But this tiny ad does:
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