I drove through some "neighborhoods" here in the last few days and noticed some things. First of all lots of people live "off the paved road" as I like to call it.
They live on gravel driveways or streets sometimes miles from a road often many miles from a town.
A case in point, our neighbor H. She actually lives about 13 miles from here, but is one of the few "young people" in town (she's 28, single and educated, a rarity all around). She inherited some land out here and is trying to make a go of it.
The structure of her house is built, but the interior is barren. I don't mean it needs a couch, I mean it needs insolation and sheet rock before it can be painted. This last week they've been working on putting in a hearth. You have to have the wall and floor finished before you can do that, so my son and others have been over there moving and hauling, measuring and nailing.
But there are people from at least 3 households with tools and resources from more. There's no way she could have done this on her own. Aside from the physicality of lifting sheet rock, the bridge out to her property is made of half of a tree covered in boards, no sides or rails, so you have to have help getting things from the car over the creek and up to the house.
I've never seen anything like it.
In doing all the work I've been doing and looking at in community, our city communities are optional. I can go to meetings and help with rituals and events or not. They will happen without me. But here that's simply not true. We have to work together or H won't have a place to live when it rains and tens of thousands of dollars of work will be lost to the elements. In the city you (or I) would hire someone to do it.
This is a different form of poverty. In the city there are a huge amount of resources. It's different, you need names and numbers and pieces of papers to access them but they are available where I live. (Not everywhere, but there are many resources and most major cities in the US.) Out here they just don't exist.
When I was homeless in Orange County there was always a way to find a few dollars here or there and I'm finding here that that's really hard. The comparison of urban and rural poverty is immensely different. I've thought a lot about urban poverty over the years. I've written about my experiences and less as that's changed for me. I definitely have guilt some days about leaving behind places where I had so few resources.
But I think these experiences are and are creating bridges. I know that what I need to be in community is different from what's needed out here. I feel like this needs exploring of how the ideas that I'm studying are applicable (or not) across communities.