It seems like there’s been a lot less chaos for the past day or two, both in Miami and in the rest of the country. But somehow, it feels like the calm before the storm.
Here in Miami, the city is remarkably calm. There’s still the high crime rate in some areas, of course, and some areas entirely controlled by gangs. But no big street battles or massive public gatherings.
We’re trying to get back into our daily routine here at Synergy Central. So far, there haven’t been any reprisals from Bastion. They no longer patrol the street right in front of the building, but they do still patrol the cross streets, so we know they’re out there. Watching, waiting. For what, I don’t know. Maybe they’re hunkering down and protecting their clients at the local banks, office, and mansions rather than harassing the local community organizers.
Our projects are going well. Now that we have a lot more people, we could really use a few more electric boats. We still have our first boat, the Clover, and another small boat that Ermete converted into an electric. But boats are hard to come by in this town, as you can imagine. They’re all taken. So we end up running these boats about all day, moving around people and supplies as we make a few additions to Synergy Central and help Havana and Roads get more established.
Speaking of Ermete, his SmartBuoy system is working really well. He has a few volunteers making occasional tweaks to the hardware and software, adding new features as people who use the system request them. One of the buoys was vandalized, damaged beyond repair. But the vandals didn’t realize that each buoy has a small camera. We posted a photo of the vandals online and haven’t had any vandalism since. A lot of people are using the system now to help navigate the city, so most people seem content to leave them in peace.
Jess has been spending more time at Synergy Havana lately than she’s been spending here! I miss her when she’s away, but she’s doing good work over there, teaching some classes and doing odds and ends like helping in the garden, light construction, cleaning, and so on. Her Spanish is getting much better! She even talks to me en español sometimes, which is nice.
Harold and Tenelach used to spend a lot of time together, but lately they hardly see each other. They both love gardening, so they still get to garden together sometimes. I just saw them out in the garden together when I visited Synergy Havana yesterday. But we have a lot of new people, and they have a lot to teach, so they spend most of their time teaching.
Harold teaches some people who are joining Green Guard and others who just want to know basic self-defense, basic gun training, and so on. Each Synergy base has a security coordinator now, so the three of them also meet at least once a week to talk shop. We’re a very peace-loving group, but we are always mindful of the fact that we live in a flooded city where basic services like police and ambulances are still mostly lacking. We’d be eaten alive by local gangs and Bastion bounty hunters if we didn’t have some type of defenses. They test those defenses from time to time, but so far the big Bastion raid is the biggest incident we’ve had.
Tenelach teaches permaculture as well as some spiritual classes and teachings on the weekend. I can see now why she was well-known back in Southern Illinois. I didn’t realize it at first because she’s not pretentious in the slightest. But she always has these interesting and unexpected insights, whether she’s talking about composting human wastes or reflecting on the deeper meaning of life. She’s very engaging. Honestly, I would go study with her if I weren’t so busy with everything else.
All of our most basic green features here at Synergy Central are complete, or about as complete as they can be until we get more gardening supplies and our plants and fungi have more time to grow. About half of the building is still kept as residential space, most of it currently unused. A few of the original tenants left, and the rest joined the Synergists, so now we don’t have to differentiate between tenants and Synergists anymore. The rest of the building has been converted into indoor greenhouse space, work space, meeting space, and space for the composting toilets, kitchen scrap composting, rainwater storage, and so on. The upper roof is almost entirely filled with solar modules. The lower roof has a few solar module pavilions as well as a lot of garden space. The old pool has been turned into a small aquaculture project with fish and plants in it. It seems a bit strange to me, but I like the idea from a practical perspective, and it seems to be working.
Really, all things considered, everything seems to be going well. We are recovering nicely from the Bastion raid and making progress on several of our projects. Most of what’s left here at Synergy Central is just expanding what’s already here, so some of the emphasis has shifted to helping Havana and Roads, who are still getting set up. A part of me wants to just take it all at face value and assume that everything is okay.
But there’s something in the air — a certain tension, like we’re all waiting for the other shoe to drop. Here in Miami, Bastion attacked us recently, and we assume they were told to by the government, so maybe they’ll try again. Thousands of people were arrested in the nationwide Purge, and there were some deaths too, so there’s this heavy sense across the country that no one who takes action on global warming is really safe anymore. There are a lot of people in the streets, but it’s more subdued now, and they’ve had to find smaller, more scattered areas where they won’t be teargassed, peppersprayed, beaten, etc. Nobody knows exactly what the next move is, but everybody can tell that this conflict isn’t over. It’s just getting started, and it’s only a matter of time before it gets crazy again.
If this is the calm before the storm, I’ll take it. A few good days of what passes for normal in this city can go a long way. Here’s hoping we get a lot of good work done while the weather is calm.