I want to invoke a pause of narrative and draw attention to something relevant to homesteading which is near and dear to my heart. It is the art of living well, and what that has meant for me in my later ages. Taking into consideration my conditioned bias of bedding down in a good nest for the last two years, living well has meant living slower, with more intention and attention. It’s not a new trend downloaded from social media or a movement of slow-lifestylers, but actually an ancient way of living in tune with a more natural rhythm that informs and affects everything we do and how we do it, so long as we are keeping the being part of human equally in balance.
Musing with a friend the other day, featured in the last journal, we contrasted the changing scenery of his traveling modalities with my own semi-sedentary saga. Within this we unpacked how novelty as an agent for shaping and changing the soul with its constant array of modifications has power and potency to make you or break you. One can become the fruits of his actions, or can be swallowed up by the intensity of it all and lose oneself in the dizzying reality of all the things left undone. There are always beautiful panoramic photos of other countries in every international airport, a long beaded string of festivals, concerts, workshops, events, and parties to attend that never end if you keep on moving. While traveling, the eternal stream of novelty can be overwhelming, and actually nourish the ‘FOMO’, feeling of missing out.
Especially for those tuned into social media networks, those of which are crutched upon as vices, and addicted to like drugs. They cater the user to contrast their normal ordinary lives with the high points of others, often leading one to believe their own existence is less interesting. This is compounded by the subscription and following of countless other carefully crafted, yet anonymous profiles that seem to present a lifestyle of constant satisfaction, perfect happiness, ease, and utter uniqueness that you don’t have. A kaleidoscope of vicarious experiences seen from behind the screen soon urges one to rush out and have similar outstanding experiences, breeding a certain kid of competition that typically quickens the need for new-ness with the increase of boredom and decrease of satisfaction for the immediate experience. The hunger is never sated, and one is left with a taste of the world that is alike to fast food, rather than a gourmet, home cooked, slowly prepared organic feast for the senses, that lingers with satisfaction long after it’s gone. Every aspect of culture has been moving at a faster pace; technology, social life, dating, eating, travel, consuming, spending. People are ready to go to Mars before forming connections with the planet we live on! Some folks change their lovers or partners every month, or every week! A social media influencer can have more fans and followers than the Emperor of Rome, and not know 99.9% of them! The never ending conveyor of products, tech, and merchandise reaches those who never know its source, and have no moral and meaningful relationship to those things.
I would like to advocate that this may not be as such a good idea as it seems. That sometimes life is far more sweet to travel as does the turtle or the snail, bearing its home on it’s back. To quit scrolling, and swiping through potential mates on your phone, and building an organic love life with some One to weather the time you have together and the real challenges and potent wealth that comes from from learning to speak the love language with another being. I encourage taking a whole day to ‘do nothing’, then a whole week, then a month. This is possible even for you, and is accessible to all. Feel more, see more, listen and hear more. How does this dramatically alter your experience of living?
Cabin life soothes the soul. Doing without many of the contrived needs of modern society, I have learned in my short time here to slow down. When my body gives off the pheromones of an honest days work in the midsummer sun and needs to be cleansed, it takes time to heat the water over a flame for an outdoor shower. My creative projects acquire a life of their own as they come to fruition, slowly with time. As does my nest, and its accoutrements. It took me 9 weeks to save enough for a motorbike, a winters work in the wood-shop to bring home a new cook-stove, dinners on that stove can take hours from start to finish and I assure you they taste better than any food you can buy. Conversations in the long-hall can span for days and nights, and days again, as one thought unravels very long yarns in the mind. I walk locally whenever possible, and feel more grounded from it. By living slow I am able to hear the call to action of reciprocity with the land, with seed, with brothers and sisters human and non human. My memory of life steeps with a richness from the stuff it is made from.
I remember sitting by the hearth for hours until my eyes closed, I remember the long hikes on short trails, pausing now and again to be introduced to the plants and herbal allies along the way. I remember reading aloud, and being read to. I remember entire mornings of bliss on the porch with a cup of coffee, and three birds. I remember waking, lost in a trance as I dove into the iris of my lovers eye. I remember writing you a letter over the course of many nights, traveling many hours to send it, and waiting graciously for yours to return, how sweet it was to touch the words as if they were you. I remember the cool naked swim on a bright warm day. I remember walking through the forest together without a need to speak, everything was already said. I remember the rituals for sun, moon, flora and fauna. Our time together woke me to the importance of honouring the land and to honour my ancestors who sowed the seeds. I honour the seeds who sowed my ancestors.
These are our treasures…