Thursday, April 25, 2013

the good life

Good morning!  How's your week going?  We're having a great time in Colorado!  It really did snow on Tuesday but we didn't quite get 6 inches, and it was really cold so we didn't venture out in it.  We did spend lots of time looking  and pointing out the window saying, "Noooo!" (snow in toddler-speak).  Yesterday we went for a really long walk on the trail close to the house where we had amazingly beautiful views at every turn.  Here, let me show you a few pictures.

From the trail.
A few months back, I picked up a copy of Helen and Scott Nearing's book "The Good Life."  If you're not familiar with the Nearing's, let me offer you this quote from Washington Post Book World as an explanation:  "Helen and Scott Nearing are the great-grand-parents of the back-to-the-land movement, having abandoned the city in 1932 for a rural life based on self-reliance, good health, and a minimum of cash."  

I've been becoming more and more interested in the "back-to-the-land" movement and although I'm only a few chapters in, I'm finding the Nearing's book completely fascinating.  I would absolutely never be (let's be honest) willing or able to adopt the life and practices that they describe in the book, but I find the entire idea.....completely.....romantic.  Searching out the perfect land, leaving the craziness of the city life behind, building a house of stone, digging gardens, tapping sugar maples, and living off the land.  I don't think I could do it, but I sure do love reading about it.  

I especially found this paragraph on money interesting:

"Ideas of 'making money' or 'getting rich' have given people a perverted view of economic principles.  The object of economic effort is not money, but livelihood.  Money cannot feed, clothe or shelter.  Money is a medium of exchange, - a means of securing the items that make up a livelihood.  It is the necessaries and decencies which are important, not the money which may be exchanged for them.  And money must be paid for, like anything else.  Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in Men and Books, 'Money is a commodity to be bought or not to be bought, a luxury in which we may either indulge or stint ourselves, like any other.  And there are many luxuries that we may legitimately prefer to it, such as a grateful conscience, a country life, or the woman of our inclination.'"

How many of us these days look at money as the ultimate goal of life?  Making more and more money so we can live "the good life?"  The Nearing's view of the good life is vastly different from so many people these days.  Although my primary focus in life has never been on money, I want to try to remember that quote above.  Especially this:  "The object of economic effort is not money, but livelihood.  Money cannot feed, clothe or shelter."  

I know from experience that life is far less worrisome when you don't have to think about money.  When you know that there will always be enough to provide for your family and pay the bills.  But regardless of how much money my family has or doesn't have during my lifetime, I hope I can always remember that life is not about making or having a certain amount of money, but about people and time and surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy.  For the Nearing's, joy was found in simplicity, nature, music, and other people.  Right now, for me, joy is hearing the laughter of my daughter and nephew as they play together, long walks, mountain views, "FaceTime" on the iPhone so I can see Tommy and Will at home, soft yarn being made into something warm for new babies.  I hope you've surrounded yourself with the things that bring you joy as well.  

Have you read Helen and Scott Nearing's book?  If so, what'd you think?  

Joy to you today, friends!

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