Saturday, June 9, 2012

Simple living, suite style

A blushing spider at the outer left petals... nearly perfectly camouflaged in my favorite peony.
 I settle in to the quiet of our little farmhouse. Of course "quiet" is relative. On a rainy day the roof rattles. On a sunny day we hear the creek over rocks through the south-facing windows. Every day brings children's noises: the pencil sharpener, bolted to the desk since 1978, grinding another fine point; Brio trains on a wooden track; a Barbie car on the linoleum and then the disagreement about who should drive; flute practice in the back yard or in the unfinished attic; tap dancing on the covered patio or, noisier still, interfering with the Barbie car's kitchenward progress.
Another early reader. With good taste in books. No, really.
 An afternoon when we don't leave the farm is amazing. Theoretically we stay home in the morning and study. Doctor appointments and emergency veterinarian visits -- so much more common than you'd imagine -- furnish approved absences from the dining table school. But the afternoons are for running, car-ishly, "like a mommyac" as Laura likes to say, to flute, ballet, jazz, grocery store, chess club, choir, feed store, modern, tap, rinse and repeat.
The irises I didn't plant, didn't hope for as I did the peonies, but their heavenly fragrance redeems them greatly.
 So last week we were on the run every. single. day.
A little stage fright.
I have managed to get over, mostly, my guilt about quitting the homeschool co-op. Just because it's the right thing doesn't make it easy, you know? I still haven't sent a response to an email that pleaded for one more, just one more, meeting. It gives me hives to think about it. Zyrtec works better than Benadryl.
My old guy and my preppy-cool cowgirl.
Despite our extreme busy-ness I am aware that we live this charmed life. I can hide in the woods, I can hide in the cedar-shingle-sided house or the massive hay loft. I can hide by the pond and I can hide in the driver's seat of my own life.
Not so much with the stage fright.
And we planted an enormous garden that promises to feed an army. Or my family. Or both. I subscribe to the idea that when Armageddon arrives I will open my pantry to all comers. Anyone who ventures out to our remote corner and who is, in my highly trained estimation, you know, nice. Do you watch the National Geographic channel's newish show, "Preppers"? Oh how I lovehate that show. You should watch and hatelove it with me.
I am learning to love the flaws and humility of my new farmhouse. Even before we can paint it. 
 Our preparations for the end of the world are pretty much just like our preparations for the continuation of the same. More kale. But sometimes a diet soda is pretty darn good, and then I remember that it's badbadbad for me.

On the flipside there is insulation in the unfinished attic and if you are on the underneath of 150 pounds you can play on that temporary floor all you like. Generations before us would have called it palatial, this mill cabin of mine. Underneath our house are stumps, some of which hold it up. (Unless you are an appraiser in which case it is a perfectly modern perimeter foundation.)

Anywhat this house has sheltered families through the Great Depression and maybe worse and I am so grateful for it and the cozy sweet history in which we live. The future can bring what it will: ready or not.
Don 't worry, she brightened right up under the stage lights.
 I even told my regular gas station attendant that, while I will miss him should the end of the world surprise us before my next regularly scheduled fill-up, it would be somewhat of a relief to stay home.
Oh dear, there are those plaid Bermuda shorts again. They call to mind the yellow shortalls of last summer.
Do you suspect that of some doomsday preppers you may know? That a wish for simplicity may drive them to hope for the end of today's hectic pace? My secret is this: We can have it now. Simplicity, beauty, peace. Before your debts are paid off, before your home is perfect, before your pantry is perfectly organized, before you fly to a beach vacation.
Madeleine and her sweet friend always ready to tap.
Busy doesn't have to mean unsettled. And while "intentional" is overused to the point of meaninglessness I am finding again that an intentionally full life can be peaceful, restful even. Simple living doesn't mean, to us, staying home full-time. It means filling our lives with the gardening, dancing, reading, chess-playing joy of being alive. It means weeding out the toxic and focusing on the beauty.

What does simple living mean to you?


CaraDD said...

No idea anymore! I am hoping to figure out what the new simplicity for our new place is very soon. :)

Katie said...

To me the simple life means: saying NO once in awhile, purge-purge-purge the stuff, grow a big garden of food with flowers-just because, lean on God when times get too tough.

BLD in MT said...

Simple living means....hmmmm...that is so hard to put into words. I think it is unique to each setting which is just how it should be (a local approach), but makes it harder to describe.

For me it is about spending my money on experiences rather than "stuff." It is about using fewer chemicals and plastics. It is about being outdoors, both in the garden and in the mountains. It is about being free enough to choose what I can do today instead of feeling I have a list of obligations hanging over my head. It is accepting that that might not always be the case.

Margo said...

Im prepping all my friends with farms to receive my family when The End comes. hee. I'll add you to the list - we're very NICE, trust me.

Simple living means not being ruled by our stuff or our schedule. It means having a wealth of time (wealth of money would be nice too, but it's often incompatible with the simple life, I've noticed - but I'd sure like to TRY).