"Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

In his book Walden (one of my all-time favorites), Henry David Thoreau says, "Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify, simplify!" With Thoreau in mind, along with my recent and nearly overwhelming sense of being suffocated by stuff, I have been slowly and systematically re-making my house and my life.

Ten years ago, we moved from Massachusetts to New Hampshire, and faced a long interim with a job but no housing. We eventually found and purchased a house, but of course the time between finding and closing was considerable. We stayed with my sister for awhile, stayed with my parents for awhile, and stayed at a campground for awhile. I've been thinking a lot about that tiny little camper we lived in... just us and a 2 year old Spencer. It was an undeniably stressful time (living in a state of limbo is a difficult thing to do), but it's a time I'm remembering with increasing nostalgia.

It was just so simple. Mike would go off to work in the morning, and I'd have the day to spend with my boy. The camper just had the bare necessities, so it would take 20 seconds to have things clean and ready for the next day. We'd head outside as soon as we ate breakfast, and walk down to the playground. We'd draw in the sand, go down the slide, dawdle by the edge of the road and collect pine cones. We'd make a daily adventure out of going to the post office to get our mail. We'd make a campfire at night, and ate dinner on our laps.

We weren't bombarded with phone calls and emails, with rooms and rooms of toys and books and old broken things that no one can even identify anymore. We washed our dishes by hand and never had to deal with a dishwasher that malfunctioned more often than it should.

We lived.

Life is good now, but it is so different from the way it was that I hardly recognize that young family in my mind. It's been clouded with details. And surely this house, SO crowded with all these unnecessary things can't belong to those same people?? I don't want to live in a campground again - although I admit to some sincere fantasies about moving us all to a log cabin in the middle of nowhere - but I want to have that feeling again. I want to simplify.

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”

1 comment:

Erika Seirup said...

I can totally relate to your post, whole-heartedly. That's been my mission it seems, the past two years! I find that I am happier with myself and with my life the more simple it gets. Go figure!

Thanks for sharing that great memory. I learned something new about you today :)


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