Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Day Musings -- "What's it Worth?"

The house is quiet. A cool, mistiness garnishes the top of the creek. Hens are humming, singing a little tune to themselves as they scratch around the hedgerow and under the tractor. The goats' bells ring softly as they graze. Copper lows every little bit, reminding us all that he is wanting out to graze the hillside. Birds chirp, tweet, twitter, and call as they dart to and from the ground to the waiting maple limbs. Stillness. God's First Day. Sweet. Home.

There is a tangible difference between home and my "home-away-from-home" Concord, but the most telling to me is the difference in noise and, coincidentally, activity level. Even at midnight in the village there are cars swooshing and people walking and talking. Unless our very inconsiderate hillside neighbors (do they not realize we hear everything, I mean everything, they say?) are here, we won't hear another human voice for days here in the hollar. Even the sounds of electrical devices is small and slight -- a hum that lasts for just minutes and is gone.

Why is it that we humans have such a difficult time with silence? Put two people in a car together and they think they must chat until they escape. Sitting next to someone in the theatre? You must at least have the obliging conversation about the weather or movie. Home alone? Turn on the TV or radio. The last thing we want is to be alone with our thoughts! Heaven save us all!

I am as guilty as everyone else. It is hard for me to sit down to do anything. There must be constant action in my life. It is miserable. And, over the past few weeks I have decided that I must learn to slow down and savor the seconds, minutes, hours, that create my life. It is a determined choice. Sure, I have talked and thought about this before, but for some reason, this time is different. I want more richness in my life and less, sometimes pointless, productivity. Sitting in a very noisy hotel suite will do this to you, I think. It makes one pause and consider, "How shall I live?" The answers are scary.

Changes are coming in our lives. The Mister and I have begun the slow process of discussing and fleshing out how we want our lives to change -- of how we want the balance sheet of our lives to work out. We want our expenses, those things that drag time from us without being pleasurable, eliminated, budgeted out. Instead, we want to make more deposits into our lives by doing the things we really want to do. We aren't getting younger. But, perhaps, we are getting wiser.

As a young woman I envisioned a bucolic life, teaching nine months, writing three months, and sitting with stacks of books to read. What I have created is a lot of unnecessary labor due to lack of solid decision making, working twelve months to support the unnecessaries, writing little, and piles of unread books. I make promises I can't keep because I make too many promises. I have projects I can't finish because I make too many projects. I have resentment because I give myself away and keep nothing for just me.

As I stood next to Henry David Thoreau's cabin site, I could envision him working in his bean field, thinking, listening, pondering his life and what it means, really means, to live. He wrote that "the price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it." This is to be our guiding credo. The thoughtful consideration of how to use the exchange of our labor, our time spent doing things we don't want to do, is the new guiding principle for deciding how we invest ourselves and time.

Boy, some people are going to be really unhappy......


  1. I wish I realized this truth much younger in life. It brings great peace now but it was a huge change in lifestyle to "do less" and "spend less".

    Just thinking through what kind of life we had to live to keep up a lifestyle that was expected of us by others... you would have thought wisdom would have come before middle age but we were taught from birth to work hard so we could "have it all".

    Then we came to realize having it all wasn't worth killing ourselves at work... what we were missing was only available with more free time.

    One of the good things to come out of a chronic illness is saying "no" to people and not getting an argument. :)

  2. About 6 years ago I realized we needed to simplify things. God had really been dealing with me on this subject. It has Definitely been a work in progress! Having teenagers things can still get hectic but not near what they use to be.
    Some people don't understand it. But its not for them to understand since it is our life not theirs.. I use to be one that couldn't handle the silence. But my youngest daughter is a kid that enjoys the silence. When its just me and her she may talk and she may not and she knows which ever its okay!.. When the girls are gone I done turn on anything especially the TV. But my husband can handle the quiet as well!
    Sitting on the front porch early in the morning it is very quiet...
    We don't have alot of things others have due to the simplifying But I know what my kids think about things in general.. There has to be Moderation in everything.. Ecclesiastes 3:1-10 always helps me keep things prioritized...

  3. Well that is life, living, then looking at our life and readjusting. Taking all we have learned and move forward, until we do it all again. Keep following your heart xoxo Clarice

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Thanks for dropping in on the farm today! I enjoy your comments!