Firefly Manifesto

We believe that people, just like the rest of the other-than-human world, fill a special place in the web of life. We are rooted in the land through our dependency and hunger, sense of belonging and gratitude, and the responsibilities we feel deep inside ourselves. We are of spirit, and yet we are in no way transcendent of the body and earthly matters. This is a sacred space to be and where life flourishes and evolves. In holding this space comes a deep connection and caring that can be heavy, and with this heaviness comes the burdens and blessings of grief, joy, sorrow, love and healing. And it is with this load that we bravely address the damage and destruction that our modern industrial society is causing to our homes with open eyes and open hearts.

This destruction is scary and serious but it does not define us. Our potential to be whole human beings participating in the greater community of life is stronger than the short-term experiment that is the abusive industrial machine society. Here at Firefly, we can look around and recognize genuine and deeply rooted people. Folks who care about the places they live, don’t stop growing in their personal lives, and are intentionally developing the skills that make them more healthy humans--whether these skills involve cultivating empathy and forgiveness, or learning bird language and wild-crafting an existence. We invite you to celebrate this experience, soak it up, store it deep inside, and call upon it to feed you all year long.

Each class you will find at Firefly is a valuable piece of the puzzle to our healing, connection, and betterment of the world to which we all belong. In order to strive, with awkwardness and grace toward our potential as humans on this earth, we must humble ourselves to our bodies and spirits, humble ourselves to the pain both perpetrated and suffered by our ancestors and fellow living humans, and look to the dirty, lovely earthiness of being; we must learn to listen.

In the past, there have been multiple severe incidents in Appalachia of coal industry-related poisons spilling into our rivers. As we all know, these tragic events are just a local example of ecological catastrophes taking place in communities all around the world every day. We have all experienced the results of toxicity and climate change in the body of the earth, the bodies of the winged ones, the four legged ones, and the bodies of our loved ones, as they suffer from diseases and cancers. The toxicity doesn't stop with physical boundaries. We have all felt and struggle with the toxicity that spills into our emotional and spiritual waterways.

The destruction is largely unseen because we are separate, primed and prepped for the particular box that culture finds for us, where we can go to work and put this cog into that hole over and over, and over again; deep connection veiled into the imaginary by corn syrup, cheap beer, and giant plastic houses. As much as we follow the rules, put the cog in the hole, we never quite make it to the place where we might rest and connect because our interest-based economy is set up to suck both us and our planet dry. Interest can only exist when there are resources to exploit, to toxify...

We don’t have to tolerate this toxicity. We can connect, we can belong... to each other and to this inconceivably lush and lovely place, this forest place in which we live. To do so, we must become a renaissance people. We must burst forth from our boxes of specialization, and learn at least a little bit about a lot of things about how to provide for ourselves and our families and communities in a way that is in harmony with the web of life; learning about the things that deeply matter; things that are deeply human. We must connect with what it has meant to be human when humans were a functional part of the web of life. We must observe, we must learn the plants, we must learn to garden and learn to love, learn to communicate, learn to evolve and accept change. Perhaps most importantly, we must learn how to bring our children into healthy adulthood.

Our potential to be whole human beings participating in the greater community of life is stronger than is the short-term experiment that is the abusive industrial culture. Here at Firefly, we can look around and recognize real, deeply rooted human beings. We must celebrate this recognition--you can’t get it at Walmart--and it can feed us all year long. Whether it be primitive skills that teach us to connect with what the human body evolved to do, practical crafts you can use in your day-to-day life, communication skills that will help you deepen the resiliency of our community, permaculture skills, empowering you to dance with the green world to provide for your needs for food, shelter, and home , or the various healing arts that make us more whole, each class you will find here is a valuable piece of the puzzle to our healing, connection, and betterment of the world to which we all belong. In order to strive, with awkwardness and grace toward our potential as humans on this earth, we must humble ourselves to our bodies and spirits, humble ourselves to the pain both perpetrated and suffered by our ancestors and fellow living humans, and look to the dirty, lovely earthiness of being; we must learn to listen.

Natalie Bogwalker, General Coordinator
Frank Salzano, Class Coordinator