Today I would like to introduce you to JP, an elf who recently came to talk to us through Susan, the same way that Mr E does. Mr E has enormous respect for JP and has mentioned several times that he is one of the most powerful elves he knows, both magically and politically. JP is not originally from Fyn and hails from a neighboring country but, through marriage, he is now considered part of Fyn as well. I found him to be charming, honest and concerned about the earth and humanity, much like Mr E but perhaps a little less tactful. 🙂 Below are some excerpts from our recent conversations.
The Elven View of Excess and Waste
JP: Something that is very elvish is to find second uses for things. Wasting is something we hate to do, that is an elvish outlook. Most of the light elves are very non-wasteful so we practice that in everything we do.
Say, for instance, we had dinner and there was extra bread, soup or whatever else we had that could perish. We would take that, bundle it up, and set it out for the poor or someone else that could benefit from our excess until it’s gone. We don’t waste as you do here in America.
Sometimes, when I pop in and out people’s houses (in the human world), I’ve seen them throw usable things away. They have thrown the rest of their ham away after eating their Christmas dinner. And, I’m thinking, “WHAT? There are people in your town that are hungry!”
NL: People don’t always know where to take their extra food for the hungry.
JP: Well, if there is a way for it to stay good, you can store it. I’ve seen this thing that you do with the freezers, that’s fascinating. If we could do that in Fyn, that would be awesome. Maybe we wouldn’t give away as much as before, but then we would be able to use less so we would create less. Do you know what I mean?
NL: Then you wouldn’t have a surplus.
JP: Right, you don’t want too much of a surplus. Even bakers, if they have day-old bread, take it and give it to the poor and so do people who have restaurants. If they have too much soup, they let people know, “okay, at this time, instead of closing, it’s free for all if there’s anything left.” Sometimes people survive that way.
People make excess; sometimes it’s unavoidable. You really don’t know if this guy over here is going to have extra soup for you today or not but it’s going to be used. That’s how we are, not only with food but other things as well.
Let’s say there is a broken chair. If it’s made of stone, maybe it can be fixed. If it’s a wooden chair, it can be burned to create heat.
NL: So a broken chair wouldn’t end up in a pile of trash.
JP: Right, there’s very little trash if anything. I mean the only trash I can think of would be something like eggshells, but even is composted or other animals could eat it.
NL: Well, what about meat? You can’t eat every part of an animal.
JP: Well, not the bones and things like that. But then you can use some of that too, you know, it all depends. I mean you can use almost everything.
NL: That reminds me of the Native Americans, historically they lived that way.
JP: Well yes, we live that way as well.
NL: But you don’t have electricity.
JP: No, we can’t quite figure out how that works.
NL: So your wise or creative people aren’t really on that track.
JP: No, we are not because we see what it has done on your side. It hasn’t worked out very well.
NL: There is a price to pay for this kind of living.
JP: Yes, it’s a problem. What you need is something in between. If you could find a new way to create energy without creating the filth and destruction behind it, we would be interested.
NL: I know they are trying to figure that out now.
JP: But you know, these modern conveniences also tend to remove you from nature. People tend to stay in their house more and have the creature comforts in the home and become further and further away from the restorative powers of the earth. That might not be so good for you.
Winter Activities and Road Workers
NL: What do you do in the wintertime? Here, it isn’t great to be spending a lot of time outside.
JP: I spend a lot of time in the castle. We burn a lot of wood, we bring it in almost every day but we only burn it in certain areas of the castle. Everyone can burn wood in their own quarters if they choose ( in order to stay warm at night) but if there are large sections we don’t use, we close that area off. Sometimes, it’s like you have the outside, inside, do you know what I mean? We wear extra clothes.
NL: Is it a long winter? We have long winters here in Michigan.
JP: It’s not great. I’d say about a good four months, maybe five. There were times though, before all the countries were settled, when people used to roam.
NL: So they would migrate to a warmer place?
JP: Yes, they could go down to say, what you call Spain, which is a lot warmer than it is over in Denmark. I am all for roaming.
NL: I see what you’re saying, pack everything up and move along. But, it’s probably not practical for you to do that anymore.
JP: No, unfortunately, and in some parts of the country, the winter is even longer. It helps to look forward to spring when things will start blooming again and we can have our festivals outside. Even then, you have to bundle up and have a big fire and not just a little fire, I mean a huge fire, to make sure everyone stays warm.
NL: So it sounds like people don’t gather together as much in the winter.
JP: Not as much, there’s only one time I can think of, the Solstice. For that one, we make a fire as big as this house.
NL: Wow, that’s big! Do they build a pit for that? How do they do it?
JP: There’s a little bit of a pit, but then they lean a lot of woods together on top of it and make it really big and tall.
NL: Is this dead wood?
JP: Yes, we use dead wood, we don’t chop trees for this. We collect the wood throughout the year for this particular event, you know, dead or old and dying trees. Trees that grow fast could also be used for harvesting. As long as they are replanted they can be used that way, but you must replant them, you can’t just let it go.
NL: Right, that would have a negative impact. I know it’s not right to do that.
What are the roads like, are they mostly dirt? That might make travel difficult in the spring or after a long rain.
JP: It depends. Some roads are dirt and others are made of cobblestone. But yes, it does get muddy and groovy. There’s usually someone with a horse and a cart full of dirt, whose job it is to refill the holes in the road and take care of the erosion.
NL: That sounds like it requires a lot more maintenance than a brick or cobblestone road would.
JP: We send people out to do that though. We say “you, you, and you are going to be road people”.
NL: Whether they want to or not? I mean, are we talking about a military type of situation?
JP: Semi-military, they aren’t warriors.
NL: So it’s more like government work, then?
JP: Yes, it’s a government job. It helps people that don’t have work or don’t have enough money to have their own shop. Sometimes there are younger kids that do this job, ones that aren’t trained in other things. It works out well since this isn’t a difficult job and they get a fair wage. Their work starts in the spring.
NL: Yeah, I imagine it’s frozen in the winter so you wouldn’t have big problems until spring. We used to live on a dirt road so I remember what that was like. Sometimes it was impassable but they paved it eventually and it’s a superhighway now.
JP: Pffft, yeah, that’s what they call progress.
The Unseen Guest
NL: So, you mentioned you drop into people’s houses and watch what they’re doing?
JP: Yeah, (laughs) but I don’t go in their bedrooms or anything. Sometimes I go, look around, and watch what they’re doing.
NL: How do you decide what house to go into?
JP: I just see it and think, “well, let’s go here.”
NL: Where do you do this?
JP: Usually around here.
NL: (Laughs) So you’re checking in on our neighbors?
JP: Yes, your neighbors. I check over here (pointing), I check over there. I was able to figure out, “Oh, that’s a market. It’s got all this food and other things and nobody’s living in this place.”
NL: Yeah, you could probably tell by the amount of food in there as well.
JP: (Laughs) Oh my goodness! How would they eat all of this! They’d have to have a lot of people to feed.
NL: Yes they do, but we have to pay for the food.
JP: So, when I have nothing to do, I watch what people do at their businesses and watch how they set it up. I think, “Oh, that one’s nice. Look how they set it up this way, how civilized.” Then, I end up watching the people when they come in and they don’t see me, I’m like a ghost.
NL: Do they ever sit on you?
JP: Sometimes. I’m the unseen guest and I’m just sitting there watching them go about their business and talk about things I don’t understand. But then, I watch their behavior with items.
NL: Like what for example?
JP: There was this cereal, is that what you call it? It’s this thing in a box that they put it in a bowl. I think they call it cereal because that’s what I heard the kids say. There was some left but not enough to make a bowl, so they threw the whole thing out. These weren’t recycling people either so the box went right into their trash!
NL: We have recycling here.
JP: Right, but these people didn’t recycle.
NL: That’s too bad.
JP: Not only that, there was food in there! I don’t understand.
NL: Yes, it is wasteful.
JP: There are birds that could eat it.
NL: Sometimes they don’t want to feed animals around here because they don’t want to draw them in. Some people consider them pests sometimes.
NL: You know, squirrels or raccoons sometimes get into houses and cause a lot of trouble.
JP: Yeah, I’m sure they think that humans are pretty big pests too.
NL: I’m sure they do.
JP: “How do we get rid of these humans?”
NL: I’m sure some of them would like that.
JP: It’s all a matter of perspective. What is a pest, really?