In April 2017, Scott Harrel thought he was prepared; he had grown up in rural Kansas without cable or video games and had camped with his father frequently in Texas as a youngster. He had been in the Army for 10 years, having done a tour in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. But here he was, in attendance at a shoe-making class at Earthaven Ecovillage and feeling ill-equipped. “I had spent many nights outside in many different places, but not once had I ever done it alone and never had I ever so foolishly been unprepared as I was for that trip. I had some basic food provisions, which lasted me the whole time, but I didn’t even bring a knife!”
Scott was comforted by the natural rhythms of the folks at Earthaven Ecovillage and was reminded of a way of life he hadn’t encountered since childhood. The people there were resourceful and respected the land; it was apparent that everyone worked toward getting along with one another. It was a welcome break to be around people who didn’t adhere to the trivial dramatics that most do. Scott remembers that “even though I was only there for a few days and probably looked a little out of place, everyone was very welcoming and pleasant. It reminded me why I was so happy as a child.”
“Since I felt as though I was pretty much at the mercy of the forest, I made certain to make an offering every morning and evening, a gesture that was quite out of character for me at the time but which felt very familiar and very natural while I was doing it. This, as I can recall today, was the first glimpse of myself as a child that I had seen in a long time, and it made me realize just how far I had wandered off of my path. Looking back, I would say this was the first of many layers that I would shed off my ego.”
From this experience in April 2017, Scott began adjusting his life according to what he experienced at Earthaven. Firefly has become a major part of this adjustment, as it was there that he realized other people were also looking to connect more deeply with the Earth and themselves. After his first gathering, Scott just knew he wanted to be a part of the community. He says, “There were just way too many cool people who didn’t buy into the typical modern ways of doing things.” Scott’s intention is to keep the old customs alive and share them with others, as well as meeting like-minded people along the way, and Firefly is a lovely place to do this!
When asked what the single most important thing folks can do right now to make the world a better place, Scott says, “Just smile.”
Part of Scott’s foundation for his love for the natural world came from his grandmother, who taught him a lot about nature and land stewardship. She had nature encyclopedias that they would explore when they had questions, and she would sometimes share folk knowledge from her early life on the plains or from old Bavaria.
Scott thinks it’s vital to spend time in nature because he feels it represents the metronome of life. It’s the “one constant that is always in tune, always on time, adaptable and yet very consistent. It’s the energetic connection that allows joy to fill one’s life. And with a life full of joy, there is no servitude – only gratitude.” Be sure to say “hey” to Scott when you’re at Firefly and take time to have a conversation with him; you’ll be glad you did!