Leaving Room for Less
I'm sitting here, my toes are cold, cause they're facing the north wall, away from where the heat of the woodstove rises up from the basement. I have a blanket wrapped around my shoulders. I thought about a whiskey but I decided against it. I'm happy.
Simple happy. Yes, there's a computer here but earlier, a book and a chair. Nothing more. And then, just past, helping the old girl get up from her porch perch to come into to a clean blanket bed. When good dogs become old dogs, hey? Her back end is giving out and this might be her last weekend. We'll see how she fares.
And that's about it. Tomorrow there will be catch up things to do like bring in wood. The cold weather, and our cheap arses, demand the stove be fed. And to be honest, I'm looking forward to it. Sore muscles, scraped forearms, and fingernails that don't look so pretty. If you only knew what a silly I am and how I despair over my hands showing up in product shots or mixing up a batch of whatever to post here.
And all of this, this life, is pretty intentional, for the most part. It's become a buzz word, hasn't it? Intentional living, slow living, mindful living. Slow living. For us, it's a litany of decisions where we decide to take the hard way. Not always and not always the hardest way. There are so many things I think we should be doing. But then I also need to settle down and realize we are doing enough. We do try to make room for less.
And what's the end goal? Not that we don't muddle up the process, we are finite humans. Sometimes we get bogged down, overwhelmed, emails don't get answered. product doesn't get made, repairs don't get done, things become messy. We can't put out every fire. But the whole point is we try to leave room for less by trying not to demand more. That's the goal.
Since we've had children, life has settled down. Become more structured. Not that we were intrepid explorers but settled down enough it makes me wince. But life has also whittled down to its essence. Once you have kids, the viewpoint of staring on down into the generations is better situated. The what's really important becomes clearer.
And here's what we've learned. Houses are houses. They are meant for living. They don't need to be big, they don't need to be shiny. Kids need to have small enough spaces where they overlap, rub shoulders with each other, and with you.
Vehicles are vehicles. That's it. A way to get you to one place or another. We decided not to go fancy. We've got an older pick-up truck whose four low has gotten me out of a pickle or two without having to call in the tractor. Good enough. She runs even if the check engine light maintains a constant glow.
A ways back in time, I was out on our north quarter by myself. I was deer hunting. It was evening and November. The snow wasn't too deep, hay still coming through and the moon wasn't reflecting all of its light. I have this thing, it's hereditary, where sometimes walking isn't easy. And sometimes it's brought on by vertigo, or losing my sense of space. In the dark dark, headed back to the truck a half mile away, in the middle of the section, I fell down. Plop, in the snow. Could only sit there. Myself. Not able to move. And here's the part I want to focus on, I was okay. I needed nothing more than some patience, grit and calm. I had a warm enough coat, pants and boots. I needed nothing else. Just me. Sitting there in the dark on hill, listening to coyotes, I was okay.
When I start to feel a bit fussed, frenetic about I need this, I need that, how am I going to get that, that moment helps. There is clarity there. I will be okay. I don't actually need. What I have is enough. I can take the time to think, to be still, to just "cool my hoofies."
What do our kids need? Not more toys, or more activities, or clothes. Maybe a bush to go play in (a constant lament is that we are surrounded by too few trees). They need to know they are okay. They've got it handled. Really, they've got it already and my job as a parent is to help them see that. Make sure their eyes are open to it. And that means saying no, you have enough, you've got, you are enough. Making the tough decisions, not letting fear be the decision-maker.
And while we are doing that, embrace the fact we aren't there yet. Not as individuals, not as a family. It's a process to keep relearning that one November moment. Space and time are good things in a life. And they come our way by learning how to say yes to the right things and no to the wrong things. Slow living our way.
So I sit here, tired, ready for bed. I'll have a glass of water and that should do it for today. Tomorrow will be what it is, what we make of it, hopefully a steady balance of doing what needs to get done (there's that woodpile talking again) and making room. For others, for thinking, for what we know we need. I hope your day is somewhat the same.