Sunny today. Warm. Thermometer in the 60's. I gobbled down some ibuprofen (vitamin I) with a dash of vicodin and headed out. Abbey, having just been spayed yesterday, took some tramadol and joined me. Joni, back hurting, took some naprosyn, and trammeled with the wounded ones. Angel (the yellow lab) was the only unmedicated mammal on the walk today.
Dogs and humans took a slow, leisurely walk through the woods. Joni and I talked about just how cushy life has become since we got the wood stove. It almost takes the sport out of winter. Gone are the two or three sleeping bags that nestled us into bed. Yes, we have to get up every couple of hours to stoke the fire. A fun ritual. We get to watch the flames dance; last night, I went outside and heard the wind blowing through the Ponderosas. I came into a house that was warm and softly lit by the flames. People pay good money to have an experience like that.
Canines and Hominids walked for two hours. Came home and sat in the sun, admiring our house made of mud. Joni gathered some firewood.
Thoreau wrote something to the effect of: "Most conveniences I've found are not such". Something like that. And, as with most issues of simple living, he's right.
For example, the dishwasher. These ugly, rectangular, space taking pieces of excessive modernity have destroyed the perfectly wonderful family activity of cleaning up after ourselves. Dishwashing is a good, wholesome activity. A fine benediction to a family meal (but most families don't know what that is anymore anyway). Add the ritual of heating the water up for the dishwashing on the stove and you have a good hour-long time of amusement and discussion.
And it gets your hands really clean.
Time savers? Who cares for that? What we need are activities that luxuriously extend our time on the planet. A time of no distractions. A time when we can be a creature and not a cog in some economic flywheel. Taking a walk with your spouse on a sunny day? Good. Eating dinner together and washing the dishes afterwards? Good.
Driving to the mall in order to ease our loneliness and use our plastic? Bad. Going to the drive thru and devouring a McBurger that was flash frozen in some plant thousands of miles away and heated up in McDonald's microwave while we sit in the car and argue about which radio station to listen to? Bad.
How to live? How to simply live? How to live simply? Good questions, best answered with a wood fire and a glass of vino in hand.