First thing this morning. Last night's well-fed fox, leaving calling cards of greater abundance than usual liberally distributed about the (grooved wood) deck of Komorebi. Sigh. Some forms of gratitude, however well-meant, candidly one can do without. But I’m glad he liked his supper.
On reflection, I thought what I said in that last post (about Rising Early) sounded a little demanding. Stealth simplicity, slinking along in the margins, asking nothing, using nothing, abstaining from all gas and electricity and plumbing.
But how will I charge my computer, I imagine you wondering; I won’t be able to use my curling tongs. Or straighteners, I suppose it is now, isn’t it? Life like a game of Simon Says, changing direction.
What I should have added in, is that one doesn’t need to be 100% about this. Father Tom, in his simple, computerless, phoneless wooden house, still had showers and electric lights. Though he travelled on a bike and blended his soup through a mouli-grater.
As Alfieri so well puts it in A View From The Bridge: “Most of the time now we settle for half and I like it better.”
Being something of a hundred-per-cent-er myself, I have not found this art – or is it a skill? – easy to learn. All or nothing, me. By turns.
But with application and patience I am managing to incorporate into my practice the wisdom expressed by Jim Harrison: “The reason to moderate is to avoid having to quit.”
So, yes, we go to the spring for our drinking water, and we collect rainwater in massive barrels for our plants to drink in summer. Sometimes – not always – I lug rainwater up to the bathroom to add to the hot water and make my bath the right temperature. We line dry our laundry; but we wash it in a machine that runs on electricity. We have solar panels for both hot water and electricity, but we do use the gas boiler to (liberally) augment the work of the sun. We export electricity to the National Grid – but we use electricity from it, too. Some of us earth closet some of the time, but not always. We burn scrap wood and timber from old, diseased trees, and gather our kindling from what the old trees chuck down to us; but we put on the central heating if it’s really cold. We turn it off at night though; all of us have hot water bottles.
We make some of our clothes and pots and furniture, and we buy some too. Some of what we buy is the work of local crafters, some is mass-produced, affordable. Our food comes from beautifully run organic farms and wholefood co-ops; also from the supermarket. We moderate, to avoid having to quit. We settle for half because it makes life possible. Little by little. As the Peruvian proverb says, “Poco a poco se anda lejos” (little by little you can go a long way).