Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Road Less Traveled

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost - Mountain Interval - 1916

I belong to a small house forum, where there's been a lively discussion going on, sparked by one man's insistence that we have no choice but to continue with our present levels of resource consumption. He can see no other options.

Despite numerous members (including yours truly) telling him that we had already altered our patterns of consumption quite successfully he refuses to believe it can be done.

Quote from Robert Fritz

Maybe those of us who strive to live low on the resource totem pole are the "Uber-Liberal greenie eco-freaks" he called us in derision; but in my eyes we (personally) are not yet green or freaky enough.

To my distress a life of simplicity (such as we live it) still requires a heck of a lot of stuff and the exchange of a great deal of money. There's rent, the power bill, the propane, the cell phone, the interwebs, groceries, clothes, expensive medications which the provincial plan doesn't cover, all things we cannot live safely or comfortably without unless we move ourselves right along to the shopping cart/refrigerator-box-under-a- bridge-domicile. How do you simplify what has become inherently and almost inescapably complex?

While I keep talking about reducing the amount of stuff we own, so far my ambition has outweighed action. We have cleared out two drawers this week, which is better than nothing, but not a lot better. This is not a problem of reluctance to let go, but one of the strength and energy to sort through the stuff and move it along.

When I get despondent about our slow and bumpy road toward simplicity I pop over and spend time with Peace Pilgrim, who reassures me that; "... progress is [never] over. ... it's as though the central figure of the jigsaw puzzle of your life is complete and clear and unchanging, and around the edges other pieces keep fitting in. There is always a growing edge, but the progress is harmonious."

The central figure of this jigsaw puzzle is an intention to live more lightly, and there is a continuing but ever so glacial progress toward an ever more light state. (Trust my jigsaw puzzle to be one which has 5000 pieces.) But it just feels weird. We have followed the road less traveled, to be sure, but we have ended up in never-never land - with too much stuff to fit in with the 100 Things crowd, and far too little to look anything like "normal" to the village householder with his 2500 sq ft house, three cars, power boat and snowmobiles for each member of the family.

I guess I just have to admit that we are not normal in any sense of the word and probably never have been. But we are what we are, and there's no point pretending otherwise. As Frost wrote, the road we chose to follow is the grassy one, and there's not a lot of company.


Terry said...

"Sometimes I pretend to be normal...". Is that a quote from someone, you? I like it a lot.

Deb said...

I found the little "Sometimes I pretend to be normal..." poster at one of my regular haunts, either The Tiny Life, or Tiny House Design but do you think I could find it again to say which site it came from? No. It just matched the post I was working on so well I grabbed it, then because posts sometimes take me days to hammer out, by the time it came to post it I couldn't find it again! Sad... But it is a neat quote isn't it?