Last night as I prepared for sleep the whole house was ON. Everyone was in bed drifting off but this modern little house continued to blink and whirr and carry on. The dishwasher. The clothes washer. The clothes dryer. Air conditioning. Fans. The ‘fridge buzzed on and off. The Ice machine in the refrigerator clonking about.
A ticking clock would never be heard.
The house would not just shut the hell up and settle down for the night. We had taken ourselves to bed and left the house to do the work.
I am so used to the night sounds of birds, and ducks and the occasional barking dog.
Convenience is thine enemy I said to myself as I spread the sheet out on literally the biggest most comfortable couch in the world. And convenience – like processed sugars becomes an addiction.
Why does everything have to have a ding or a buzz when a cycle has finished, I thought as I rolled about trying to sleep. I NEVER have trouble sleeping by the way. I can sleep anywhere – it is my gift.
This is St Cecilia. A priest brought her out from Rome as a present for my mother. Probably about sixty years ago. She has been treasured. There was much discussion about whether she was marble or alabaster but – alabaster I guess.
After countless shifts as I carted her around the world she finally succumbed and broke.
In two parts. (Does her broken arm count as another part? Probably Broken into three parts then. St Cecilia and I are broken into three parts. When I come up out from the farm and face the real world it is hard not to feel overwhelmed. I am so sure of my path when I am writing then I see how hard it is for others to live with an eye to their environment and I have to rewrite half my work. I see more clearly the problems our people face in the cities and the suburbs. And no-one has time here. And they do not want to think of the repercussions of their purchases. ‘Wanting to’ is over half of any battle. They don’t want to see.
Even connecting with your farmers is hard here in the suburbs: If you are too late to the farmers market you miss out. If you are too early to the blue berry patch you miss out. So, if you have ten minutes you ‘run to the store’ and fill the house up with more packaging and food that is so far from their farms it is unsettling.
When I clearly look at the path I have set out for myself; designing workable environmentally sustainable lifestyles in the homes of our people and showing our blog readers how to grow and prepare your own food. Once I am literally out in the homes of our people I see the monster lift it is going to take to help our young families work towards a better future. Because everyone is working so hard at just surviving and everyone has problems and everyone is just SO TIRED. They are just trying to get through.
But through to what? The THROUGH part is where we live.
How not to feel broken when this is what is being sold in our stores as LUNCH.
How not to feel as broken as Saint Cecilia. I cannot lie down and weep. I cannot feel broken. I must pick up and continue to help the young ones see that there is joy in the old fashioned ways. The old ways can work in a modern house. A sandwich and an apple are a better lunch.
The most important feeling I must foster in myself is to do all I can do. That has to be enough. You and I must do all we can do and forgive what we can’t get done. I can’t tell other people what to do – unless they have signed up for one of my courses that is. I can only take control of what I can do.
That is enough moaning for me this week I think!
John said that all but one of the ducks have gone. He has not seen them since I left, he said. If the back gate was open I believe they may been chased through that gate and possibly found the creek. They will fly up like pheasants when they get a fright and if something had chased them into the wheat some would have come back out. So they must have gone to water. To lose them all at once means they left as a flock.
He said there is only one left and I bet that is the duck called Quacker. She only hangs out with the flock at bed time. (And I have to round her up when I lock them in at night). She follows me everywhere during the day quacking the whole time and has a strange angle to her neck from a mink attack a couple of years ago. I feel broken by this too. Her all alone. The duck on her nest is still sitting there I guess. I hope they are both there when I get back. I will put them together and they can live with the chickens.
The duck pond had still not been filled when I left. That was a big part of the problem – John did not want the ducks in his pond anymore.
I cannot do it all. My children would say grandchildren are more important than ducks and dogs. (In fact they do say that) And I agree. So I cannot be on the farm all the time. I have to trust the others. There are times when we must hope that everyone is doing their best.
St Cecilia is sitting on the table beside me. Broken in half. Reminding me that yes – we are all torn like this. Especially immigrants. We must get over it. We cannot give up just because we feel legless.
I must straighten my back – make a plan – and get on with it.
No-one is going to thank me for sitting on my arse weeping about feeling broken.
Thank you Beth! I always feel better after I write it out.
My cooker beeps when I put a pan on it – even if it’s off. It annoys me no end!
I hope you get a good night’s sleep tonight and that the ducks come home safe and sound.
Only a couple more days then boo and I will go looking for them. I lost some white ducks to the creek once years ago and found them 5 days later under the bridge/ a mile off / I literally walked them home. So I look forward to trying anyway.
I hope so – I’m sure Boo will do his best!
I am so with you. My daughter and I bought 2 lots and built 2 houses next door to each other. So we have 3 1/2 acres that we have turned into our own nature preserve in the country. It was not such a problem early on but we are here 20 years now, new people have moved into our small subdivision and with an HOA in place they seem to hate everything that grows, flies, etc. Mowing twice a week no matter how much rain we get and weed eating everything else to the dirt. I don’t know why they moved to the country as the only thing they do outside is mow, spread pesticides and cut down most of what is planted that grows over 5 feet. So far we have been able to live our life style but it is tough. They don’t seem to have any concept of conservation, climate crisis, living with the land instead of on it. I find it depressing and it makes me glad I am as old as I am. I wish I could pass this on if only to my family but not to be.
Those HOA thingies are AWFUL! I feel so bad for you and I also just cannot conceive that these people with their sprays and plastic bottles of water do not realise what is going on out here! I love what you and your daughter are doing – stay in touch!!
Such poignant words…..
How I feel this morning – finding Saint Cecilia broken was the last straw.
I felt every word deep within.
When I read that your ducke are gone I teared up. I am so sad for you about broken St Ceclia. 💔
I know – I will have to wrap her and let her settle for a while / I have no idea how to put her back together.
I know! Though I can’t use them – they hurt my ears – I got to sleep in the end. Do you wear them when you travel?
I wear them every night. Started when we lived in Hong Kong; a city that never sleeps makes a lot of noise.
I live in the suburbs and wear ear plugs every night. Neighbors’ eight dogs (they surrounded us on three sides) howling and barking despite the laws, renters screaming, teens doing wheelies/drag racing, gunshots, helicopters overhead . . . To see our neighborhood in the light of day makes me wonder if the nighttime dramas are real or if everyone’s watching the same cop show at full volume. During the day it’s mostly birds, small planes or an occasional siren, unless someone is getting a new roof. Silence is a treasure.
I forgot all the lights. Especially the Apple Tv box, the ROKU box, the red light on the power cords, the standing fan, the paper shredder, the iPad, iPhone, Mac. Every appliance has a light.
The neighbors have the brightest lights to deter burglars and thieves but they light up the night, forcing us to use blackout drapes that are not perfect. The tops always allow light in! I can make it to the bathroom without a night light to guide me because my room has ambient light that’s as bright as moonlight, thanks to three neighbors.
All those dogs! Eight dogs are a lot to have in close proximity- all that noise at night sounds quite terrible – nothing like that here – we are in a cul de sac – everything is peaceful.
Our problems began when new and young homeowners lost their homes through foreclosure and they were bought by investors who rent to low incomers who qualify for Section 8. They are the new neighbors who have never used a lawn mower, cannot afford to use sprinklers, always own too many dogs and so many cars they park on the curb and even on the lawn, blocking our streets . . . Only three of us (original homeowners) remain and you can tell who we are at a glance.
No one gives renters copies of the HOA rules. The HOA does not enforce them either but they collect our fees as regularly as the IRS collects taxes.
It’s quite the same here. Relatively calm and quiet during the day, but the world seems to be shouting through a megaphone at night. Happily, I don’t find earplugs uncomfortable.
There are days.
Yes, they are…
finally (I’m older than you) I realized I can’t change the world. Nope, I can’t convenience people in the city that we farm in a very sustainable way—they will scream at me and call us Corporate farmers. Really?
Some will tell us we are taking all their water so they can’t shower four times a day—not the way we irrigate. Our water leaves the farm and goes right back into the river–giving life force to FOOD (they like to eat) and giving them water to drink and do whatever they want to with.
The list goes on and on.
Gradually, I realized I can’t fight against something that is HUGE—I can only keep doing my part with my blog https://coloradofarmlife.com and gently, gently try to show.
That is all I can do.
So keep up your good work. You are reaching a multitude of people and over time more and more will silently and quietly change until we are all one.
Or a good-sized group of people with the same approach to living. 🙂
Hugs and Love to You!
I hate that you have to deal with that. Especially as you are so careful to husband your water through the property and beyond. I hope we can reach more and more people – if my new website works the way it should. We need as many as possible to be able to find your valuable comments.
You are doing wonderful work. Keep it up. Cheering here!
Heart Heart Heart
I try to live a mindful life, day in and day out… My daughter and grandchildren watch and joke about it, but they are absorbing my ways. (I catch tiny glimpses of it every now and again.) This has to be enough; I cannot allow myself to stress out too much about the way they choose to live. We can only help out so much… people must be allowed to make their own personal decisions, and live with the consequences… (tho it is sometimes painful for us to watch…)
This is so true – thank you for the reminder – example is the best teacher. We all just live – as best we can
This was my first comment that didn’t post right away… so I wrote another.
I see you!
This world is breaking us all right now. Breaking our patience, breaking our spirits, even breaking our compassion. I write. I garden. I quilt. I cook. These help. Some days, it’s ok, most days I have to make a conscious decision not to let it all make me sad. You are not alone, and there are many out there. Here’s something I did when I was working on a service for my Unitarian church a couple of years ago. I typed “Let’s save the world” into Duck Duck Go. Seeing all the organizations and other people committed to making the world better, made me feel better. It’s a good exercise.
Oh Dorothy – thank you – and you are so right – there are many many people doing the best they can to make the world a better place. I think finding Saint Cecilia broken in half just finished me off this morning. Tomorrow will be better!
Yes it will!
Celi, it is important to visit the noisy, modern world when you want to help people in it find another way. No one minds your moaning. And Misky is correct: earplugs help when in strange or noisy places.
Except they hurt my ears – I am no good with earplugs. Eventually of course all the machines turned off and went to sleep- as did I. But you are right! I need to keep reminding myself of the troubles of others and stop living in my la la land.
Oh, dear. My daughter feels the same and has trouble going into the city. She lives on a tiny island off the coast of British Columbia and tries to be as self-sufficient as possible. She used to have more animals but lost them to predators. She also can’t stand the noises of the city and the houses that won’t sleep. When I visit her it is so healing and I sleep very well. The world needs more people like the two of you.
I feel for her losing animals to predators. I don’t mind being in the city – the big city – it is the suburbs that eat my soul (as the kids would say). How lovely that she has a place on an island! Do they have a bridge or ferries?
No bridge or ferry. She built her own row boat and gets back and forth to a larger island that way. It takes her 10 to 15 minutes. Consequently, she is in very good shape.
Wow! She built her own boat! I think I might want to interview her for one of my podcasts one day!! If I can ever work out how to edit them!
You and she would have so much in common. Here is her website https://madmudslinger.com/
We can only be the best example of mindful living; some will follow… ❤
You are totally right Henrietta, setting a good example and living mindfully. Beautiful.
My heart aches for your loss, and it could easily have been prevented. Yes, it hurts all the more knowing this. We cannot make anyone else care about the things we care about. And it gets me in my gut. Every single day something occurs that pisses me off and that is why I look out the window literally 25-30 times a day (conservatively). I look for birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer! anyone to cheer myself up. Two days ago the woman across the street asked me to take care of her two dogs for the day. I was thrilled. They made me laugh playing hide-and-go-seek around our tree in the yard.
Dog sitting!! That does sound enjoyable!! So sensible to use our love of nature as a calming moment. Imagine a life without windows!
So much in this post is heartbreaking. Mostly because you are usually up and planning and rarely discouraged. I can empathize though, and have my own days that I just sit and wonder and ask why? What is the reason to keep forging ahead when so many can’t or won’t join in. I’m sitting here right now looking at my grands eating McDonalds and playing a video game. They move away in 2 days time and it will probably be months before I see them in person again. Today I am of the mind to say do what makes you happy dear girls, eat what you want but just be in my space with me while we have this day. Forging ahead can start up again in a few days. This is more important.
Sad they are going away soon. And I absolutely empathize with taking a breather from it all. I hope their leave taking is not too sad. But I bet you already have plans for your next gathering.
Interestingly today I am feeling torn in the way that you are. Nothing makes sense any more…..and I have designed my life to be as simple as is humanly possible in this mad world…but today I had to dip my toe into the madness….and ohmy goodness there it was waiting……all the crazy making nonsense. At moments like this my hope dwindles. Hang in there Celia we like minded people must stick together…it’s the only way. It’s just about 8 p.m. here. I am going to try and relax. and sleep and begin a new day… I hope that you are able to do the same…. Janet :)X
Part of the problem is that all that convenience comes at a cost, not just a quality of life thing but a monetary cost. If people cut out most of the convenience they enjoy there would be more money left over and only one person to a home would have to work. Someone at home to watch the children, so no daycare. Someone at home to fix lunches for school kids and dinner for the family at night, fewer quick to fix lunches and dinner. Maybe only one car to a family, if only one person is working that’s one less car to keep in repair, license, insure. Should everyone take a family vacation every year and feel deprived if they don’t? Do we need all the space in the humongous houses that so many seem to think are necessary for them, people used to live quite comfortable lives with only one bathroom and kids often had to share a bedroom. Less easily accessible credit would make waiting or saving up before purchasing something that is not really essential a rule to live by. No credit card bill at the end of the month not to mention carrying charges would take a world of stress off those paying the bills. Is any of that such a terrible burden to take on to live a simpler, easier, less frenetic life?
How do you convince people that giving up the convenience they have become accustomed to and taking on some of the workload that those conveniences provide would add immeasurably to their quality of life.
It’s a puzzlement.
The thing is when you are in it you can’t see the woods for the trees so you don’t even think about lifestyle changes that make sense just as you described. There’s just no time for big picture thinking.
That lifestyle is so busy that even down time is planned to the enth degree.
So when people plan holidays it also has to be something special. We work so hard, we deserve this. And they do but those kind of holiday are usually either packed with energetic things to do or packed with prepaid relaxing things to do. Even if they are just going to lie on the beach for a week they will take a heap of books cos that’s the only time they get to read them.
There are islands here in Australia that are so overrun with tourism that along with your accommodation you need to book all activities and dinner reservations, anywhere not just at your resort, well in advance of your stay.
With all that planning and doing, in every day life and our precious down time most people never take, or give themselves the time to evaluate wether what their doing is working for them.
Epiphanies around this stuff usually come from forced time off with the time to evaluate.
Serious illness or a pandemic. It wasn’t just remote work that made a lifestyle change possible for many, it was also forced time away from the hamster wheel to figure out how to make it happen.
Everything looks better once you can get some rest. I’m glad the house finally went to sleep, too, so that you could.
Poor ducks. I miss them.
I have been exactly where you are, Cecilia. Once I was visiting a son and his 6 children in the midwest, after having been making speeches and lectures about sustainability all around Europe. At bedtime, each child and the parents would take a small plastic bottle of water to their bedrooms (which they never finished drinking) and turn on a TV in each bedroom (yes, that meant 7 televisions going late into the night). All food in the enormous kitchen was processed or ordered in; no one cooked anything. The kids thought I was crazy for suggesting we all just go out for a nice walk. I was so depressed about it all. However, some of my message and habits did sink in and, as the children have grown up, they are also becoming much more conscientious. As I always told my 100’s of students: ‘no one expects you to do everything but everyone can do something!’
PS, My confirmation name is Cecilia because she is the patron saint of music and I’m very sorry your Cecilia is broken but I think she and you can be put together again. Just keep on keeping on!
Oh my! Seven televisions!! That must have been a huge house. Yes! Everyone can do something and I am so grateful for your support. You are a pioneer in our field – I have huge respect.
Poor Saint Cecilia. We can probably repair her but she might need to be strapped to a board from now on. Her indignities continue.
Sometimes it’s like putting cats in a bag. Nobody wants to cooperate. Big hug. Fresh start tomorrow. It will all be okay. I hope you can recharge over a cup of tea and a bit of quiet. Glue that poor girl back together.
Yes! Luckily I have a quiet writing day. Writing always puts me back together. Thank you!
Oh my, yes, I feel very borken. (Borken – yes I typed it that way by pure accident but it fits) I’m Borken. Borken tired and borken depressed. Death has visited a very dear friend here and he took her lovely husband. It has been a month, but nothing seems right or useful now. If screaming to the moon and stars would help – I would, but alas a borken heart is a borken heart.
Broken, misspelled. For something to be borken, it must be broken beyond all repair……
Hugs to you.
Oh I am so sad to hear that death darkened your doors. So sad. Hearting breaking. I like borken – it fits. Your very dear friend is lucky to have you.
This is a big post. Big questions. And answers. Within it and TKG community.
In our innercity apartment I would put the dishwasher on at night, fall asleep pretending its noise was the woosh woosh of the ocean shore. The comforting hum of the washing machine and fridge still connects me to nuturing childhood memories.
I used to feel torn. But then I got better at remembering others make their choices and I make mine. Phones, travel, availability works both ways.
I have a few precious family keepsakes that I worried about getting broken then learned there is a Japanese art, Kintsugi the process of repairing ceramics traditionally with lacquer and gold, leaving a gold seam where the cracks. I even got brave enough to have my mother and grandmother’s precious wedding rings remodelled into a ring that suited me, and I wear it.
I used to feel torn about doing what I do each day and others not but we are all in different stages and spaces and places.
I simply appreciate the company of likeminded people, remind myself they are “my tribe” and we make a difference.
And that is what I love most, your honesty and generosity in sharing was a rally call that was answered.
When I lived in the country, friends visiting from town would complain how ‘noisy’ the night was because of animals and birds going about the business of living. I found it amazing, because of course the country is quieter than the town, with its traffic, sirens and busy hum underlying everything. Noise is what you’re not used to, I guess. I try not to have things running at night. The Husband can fall asleep in seconds wherever he is. I sleep very badly, wherever I am. I’m lucky if I get 6 hours in one go, mostly it’s much less.
We cannot force anyone to be responsible, to take responsibility for everything that is impacted by what they do. It’s hard to show people that their individual actions impact us all. I tell myself that change starts with me, with my actions and my example.
Is it important to you to be able to touch and feel St Cecilia? Otherwise, one option to preserve her with dignity might be to reassemble her very carefully and then set her into a block of clear resin so that she can never break again. Some things are worth preserving forever, and she is one, I feel. If you don’t like this idea, I’m sure there are talented people who would be able to repair her.
She is important. And not small! The size of a 10 week piglet! Quite heavy. I am not sure what to do with her. I like the idea of a repair that is obvious – imagine a gold scar. Mostly I am trying to think what it means. Her breaking now.
The ducks just know you are away and are taking their own sight-seeing vacation. I’m going to picture you getting them all in a row – leading them back up your laneway. They are definitely creatures of habit. And St Cecelia seems to be telling you to gather your own pieces as well. You work so hard. Time for building in some personal rest time I think. When time runs out we don’t wish we’d done that one more podcast… but you might wish to sit through another sunset. Xoxo
Sitting down and relaxing is to hard for me! I will listen to the Saints and do my best!
“I must straighten my back – make a plan – and get on with it.
No-one is going to thank me for sitting on my arse weeping about feeling broken.
I so love this about you Celi! It’s kind of like “This is what’s happening, let’s get with the program and start working on a solution!” 👍😍
Yes! Working on it already – but – sometimes – you know.
Yes indeed…, I do know…
take those pieces and put them back together onto a board and add a mosaic around them. That is what I did for a friends cherished cross from her daughter. She cried when I gave it back to her.
St. Cecilia is eloquent in her broken-ness, as are you. Cece, you do so much, don’t beat yourself up. Your message is getting through loud and clear. I often think of the things we talked about in class and I can’t tell you how many times recently I’ve urged people to make rags our of old clothing they were going to give to Goodwill (ie., clutter up the landfill). My body feels broken today after a ten-hour flight from London last night. Now remind me, what would a good carbon offset for that be? And I love Ramona’s idea for fixing St. Cecilia!
I do trees – but I am working on another idea/ that reminds me to send an email about that.
Hi Celi. I thought I couldn’t live without a dishwasher. I can. I thought I couldn’t live without an iron. I can. I thought I couldn’t live without the radio playing in the background all day. I can. I thought I couldn’t live without the daily
newspapers. I can. But I can’t live without my books, gentle relaxing classical music, sunshine and the birds song, or the cat that comes down to my part of the house and just lies quietly in the sun at my feet.
There are so many small things we can do that will make a difference. I have a small bench top oven so I no longer have to turn on the big oven. Food for one can all be cooked in the small one.
Take care Celi. You and St Cecilia need time to rest and get put back together again Hugs from afar.
We can live without so much / and with less to maintain it is even a more frugal way of life! I love your cat lying quietly. Oh sunshine! How is your autumn going?
Here in Wellington, autumn so far has been kind to us. I’ve had the heating on only once and that was because I had visitors that day. The same can’t be said for the rest of the island. The north has had so much rain. Are you coming home soon?
Yes! I have a Bach booked at Himitangi from June 29th for two weeks. Hoping to get some solid winter beach time.
Himita gi is a short distance from here. If you get a chance….
Oh that is wonderful. I probably won’t have a car though! But surely we can think of something!
But I have a car. So let’s see if we can make time for lunch or coffee or something.
Yes! Let’s do lunch! Lovely.
And now I’m finding I quite like dishwashing by hand. Provided of course that the water is really hot. Not so keen on drying dishes so usually I leave them to dry overnight. Well that’s what I used to do with the dishwasher anyway. It’s amazing just what you can get used to and come to enjoy.
I like washing in super hot water with gloves! And music!!