This was my first year attending the Feral Futures gathering. I was originally a bit skeptical of it but in going to the gathering was really impressed with it and how it went. Held in the Weminuche Wilderness in the San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado, the location was perfect. The Pine River was in close distance to our camp, providing us with water for bathing, drinking and just enjoying. Ponderosa Pines, Douglas Fir and Quaking Aspen trees made up the forest with a diversity of plants that provided for food and medicine. The connection to this place was quickly felt for myself, as wilderness broke down and wildness came forth.
The amount of people who came quickly rose as the days passed, and I found that in no time at all what it began to feel like wasn't just a random gathering of people but a group of people working to create community and anarchy, however temporarily. And although it was a glimpse, it seemed to provide a wonderful example of how people can come together in the right setting and treat each other as equals and friends. What really was great was having conversations with people actually engaged with no cellphones or other distractions to take away their focus, something so rare now.
There was a large focus on healing as Wylden Freeborne has mentioned elsewhere; overcoming all of the damage that has been inflicted upon us by domestication and Western Civilization. I thought this was a really important part of the gathering that seemed to flow throughout it constantly.
There was no one taking charge at Feral Futures, and the anarchic nature of the event was definitely apparent. Problems were dealt with as they came up, with not too many being present. There was an issue of sobriety and intoxication and the creation of "sober" fires and "rowdy" fires, with the solution being to focus on the circle at the sober fire being sober, and people having to step outside of it to drink or smoke. Perhaps there could have been a better way come up with to balance the needs of those folks that didn't want to be around intoxication and those who have no issues with it, but the fact that at least some considerations were taken was nice.
There were a lot of great workshops, including workshops on consent, direct action, and discussions on invisibility disabilities and the green scare amongst others. I personally was really interested in the radical parenting workshop despite not being a parent myself, but beyond the discussion, what was really interesting was the actual radical parenting that some folks were engaged in at the gathering and how the children differed from children raised in a non-radical civilized parenting style. I was also really interested in the rewilding workshop which had a group of us sitting around discussing what rewilding has meant for us, our experiences, challenges,and such. A really great conversation.
Unfortunately, events such as Feral Futures are just short lived experiences that are outside of what is happening in civilization where all the destruction continues. There was no forgetting this at the gathering, to everyone's credit, this didn't just turn out to be a party in the woods with a celebration that we're at the end of it and it's time to party. While this system is collapsing, that doesn't take away from the everyday destruction and violence that it is inflicting as long as it continues to collapse, and that the question of what to do to resist that is really important. What Feral Futures does do though is provide a wonderful example of how despite all the fucked up things this culture does to us, we still do have the potential to be as humans, and to come together in positive ways.
"The end of their days; is the beginning of our lives. Freed from self-imposed restraints the wanderers will re-arise" —Peregrine