Posted by: highmountainmuse | September 26, 2009

With too many lights one can not see the stars

Old and new. Forrest doing school work by the glow of the computer... and oil lamp light.

Old and new. Forrest doing school work by the glow of the computer... and oil lamp light.

With solar electricity, cloudy weather spells low power.  We learn to do without, and appreciate what we have.  It is easy.  It is simple.  We have lived completely without for enough time to be grateful for the little we have.  We can use it wisely.

And yet, evenings following those robin blue sky days of abundant sunshine, we may flip on five lights.  All at once.  And feel we are living large.  And somehow, take a decadent sinful pleasure in that.  Why?

I read about a family surviving life back in the pioneer days, and considered the hardships, the sacrifices, the lack of luxury.  I looked around my home and my life and felt guilty. I saw unnecessary luxuries. Waste.  Fluff. They keep us removed from the land, from the core of our life.  Removed from what matters most. 

We have too much. The land fill is spilling over with plenty. And our homes? Our fridge? Our closet? Our cars? Our full schedules?

We grab onto more and more and more. We take pleasure in amassing. Perhaps a safety and security. A fear of being without. It seems no matter how much we give away, how right and generous we feel we are being by sharing, donating and getting rid of things… all we do is make room for more. 

We grasp onto labels like “natural” and “organic” and “recycled” and feel we can buy and purchase and support and spent there because they are… better.  It’s still spending.  It’s still getting too much, isn’t it? It’s still more than we really need.

We start small.  Considering what we can give up.  What we can do without.  One thing at time.  One thing that need not be replaced.  An empty space that can remain open, clear, uncluttered.  Slowly, we begin to pare down to what matters most.  And suddenly, there is room to breath.



  1. Want to start paring down .Try starting with a three bed room two bath with shop that has the tools to make anything .Wood or metal to what will fit in a old Buick with a small trailer .The house is full and the shop if you put one more drill bit in it the walls would explode .I cant understand how two people could collect so much .You sell what you can then have Goodwill send a semi truck . I have a laptop coming to keep in touch .You are friends a dont want to loose .So for you let the sun shine so you can indulge in the luxury of electricity.

  2. Don, I have heard others say the same. I suppose we all are guilt of amassing so much. And then we move, by choice or by unfortunate circumstances as in your case, and we look around and say HOW ON EARTH? Where did this come from?

    The choices of getting rid of, giving away, letting go… it is so hard at times, when each “thing” may have a use, a story behind it, a memory or meaning attached that only we could understand…

    Perhpas in there lies your memoirs, Don. A story you can put together for your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of your life with your wife.

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