Thursday, April 12, 2007

Doing the Impossible

Out today to take photos of the many beautiful flowering trees and flowers. What a gorgeous day. A couple from Alaska pulled in beside us last night. He said they'd been out six weeks, up the California and Washington coasts, across the western states, and this was the first place they'd been tempted to stop and spend more than a day. The beauty of the valley is growing by the day as the cherry trees begin to bloom, magnolias bloom, forsythias glow, and the maples bloom. I'd never seen a maple tree bloom before. I got a good picture of the flowers.

The rest of the photos are ones I took as I strolled around the park this afternoon, including one of our neighbour Dave, who was here helping James ready the swimming pool for the season.

I've joined a "Tiny Homes" Forum on the web, and one of the first messages I got was in response to someone who is purportedly selling all her excess stuff and moving into a "tiny home". The response was, "Wait til she sells all her stuff and then finds out it's not possible to live in a small space - at least not a satisfactory one. I'm beginning to feel like I don't live in a free country." So at last we've done the impossible! I always said that if you want to do the impossible you just have to work a little harder.

It's certainly not possible to live satisfactorily in a tiny house if you insist on stuffing 2800 sq ft's worth of accumulation into it. But, shed the extra stuff and it's possible indeed.

The way we hang onto stuff you'd think it somehow shielded us from life's trials and tribs. But it doesn't. Piling up stuff we don't use or need is like hanging a millstone around our necks. We have to have buy or build extra rooms to house it in, then work extra hours to pay the rent or mortgage for the extra rooms to house the extra stuff we don't really need. This is not "freedom" but enslavement.

We buy things that catch our eye, or to ease anxiety. Why does spending money ease anxiety? Even the super-wealthy spend themselves into poverty, trying to buy peace of mind. Then, not surprisingly, all the claptrap we've bought brings us anxiety because we look at it and wonder why we bought it, or we hide it away, like someone who drinks secretly, we buy secretly and hide the evidence. We need to learn that buying and possessing doesn't bring peace of mind, even though every media message tells us we must buy to fit in, to be accepted, to be one of the gang, to be our true selves, to be loved, to be above the rest. Ads say, "Follow the crowd" or "Lead the way", because everyone does one or the other, or wants to.

Then there are those of us who buy because we are just plain daft and disorganized. All my life I've bought duplicates of items because I had no idea where the one I already had was. The theory is, "To find something you've lost simply buy a replacement".

I remember once, we needed to trim the goat's hooves and couldn't find the hoof knife. We tore barn and house apart, trying to find the knife. We finally gave up and drove the 40 miles to town to buy a new hoof knife. $1.98 for the knife, $5.00 for gas, even then, and half a day's time wasted.

On the way home Ian (eight or nine at the time) poked his hand in the space between the seat and back cushions in the back seat of the van. And pulled out the old hoof knife. bah humbug! I'm always too embarrassed to go back to the shop and say, "I found mine, can I return this?"

I needed the tweezers a couple of days ago and had misplaced them. But within a few hours I ran onto them again. Things don't have as much room to go astray here. And there's less to go astray to start with.

Perfection is not achieved by adding to and adding to. Perfection is achieved by taking away and taking away until you are down to the purest, most simple and most efficient. The beauty of the small. Or so I tell myself.


Susan said...

Simplicity is the theory behind the Zen craze. I love being clutterfree. When things start accumulating, I make a trip to the thrift store with a donation.
Thats a nice shot of the maple bloom. They throw yellow pwdery pollen off when they open up. My car gets covered in yellow as I have a huge maple in my yard.
Love the pic of my Dad. Mund if I copy it to my files? By the way, is that a file in his hand? Not a Jpeg, the steel one?
I hope the blooms will be there end of the month. Ill be coming armed with a blank memory card and a freshly charged battery!

Kempton said...

Lovely flowers.