So first, what this post isn’t. It isn’t a recap. It isn’t composed in a haze of post-event relief and it isn’t composed in the throes of Moose Fever (finally shaken the symptoms, though my strength is still returning). It isn’t an attempt to adequately thank the many people who made this year’s conference so rich and enjoyable. It isn’t going to try and link to all the people who deserve it or describe any of the sessions. But lucky for you, it isn’t going to try to convey the emotional tenor of this year’s event either — I think I’ve offered up enough goop to people via comments and email. If you were waiting for your goop and feel cheated, do let me know and we’ll see if we can set up a private goop session.
Having said all that, I do feel obliged to offer up a few observations and shout-outs, whatever the limitations I place on myself so I can begin to get my head round the thing. Those of you who are quite reasonably tired of hearing about this event are advised to move on.
I previously wrote that this was the best NV yet, and after more than a week to think it over I stand by that assessment. Why the best? Well, for one the quality of the sessions was stronger from top to bottom. And it turns out Moose Camp didn’t need the radical surgery that I thought it did, some minor tweaks (like vetting vending a wee bit more aggressively) did the trick. But it was the inspiring energy that everyone brought out to the UBC Forestry Sciences Centre that made things fly. The vibe was tremendous, I was buzzing on it afterward for days. At times, it felt like the realization of an idealized vision of learning that sometimes seems like an impossible dream. And as many other attendees have written, the cumulative effect really opened people up to some powerful stuff. Chris Lott wrote that the intense social dynamic could not really be described as networking, it was more like connecting… and that simple phrase has stuck with me since then.
I’ll leave it at that, though I’m tempted to say more. If you experienced what I’m getting at, you already know what I’m talking about. And if you didn’t, you won’t believe me anyway.
I have to give my props to the conference organizers. Once again it was an honour to work with you. And heaps of learning. And huge fun. I enjoyed every planning meeting, and it was a blast to watch everything come together so smoothly. I really hope we do this again.
To the people who stayed at our house, or joined us for a meal/party — thanks for providing some of the most memorable moments. And I wish we had the space to invite more people. I do regret my distracted and cranky demeanor at the largest gathering, I was awash in logistics, very anxious about how the next day would go, and due to various quirks barely ate all day… I was so wired I barely touched the ceviche. But it was fun nonetheless, especially once the cooking and cleaning bits were squared away.
And a very special debt of gratitude to Keira, who worked nearly non-stop for five days in the run-up to the event. Northern Voice followed two major permaculture happenings in February (and another on the way), so it was some kind of intense month.
I’ll leave it at that, but I intend to return to the specific sessions over the coming weeks piece by piece. There’s no way I can do the participants justice if I try to do anything more comprehensive now. The sessions were all recorded, thank goodness. And it will be nice to get a bit of the sensation back now and then…