Monday, December 15, 2008

Musing on simpler living

By my friends standards we live a simple life. We have no cell phones. Really. None. We have no PDA's. No GPS. Sort of a bells and whistle free life. We usually camp when we go on vacation. We make most of our food from scratch. We grow a vegetable garden at the community garden plot. We can and put by as much local produce as we possibly can. Yet the power outage showed me how different a truly simple life would be.

First off, we spent most of Friday and Saturday together in my bedroom. It is a spacious bedroom, about 12 x 14. We stayed there because the small gas fireplace gave off at least some heat and the rest of the house was a brisk 49 degrees. I was sick and was mostly in the bed, orchestrating play for the kids. Board games card games, crafts and things they would think up on their own were the amusements. No cable TV. No music. No going off into another room because it was too cold to want to. And i thought to myself that if I was living in pioneer times, our entire dwelling might well have been the size of that room. A room that didn't seem claustrophobic to me, but warm and filled with love and community. My 4 y/o sang songs (I croaked along with my raspy cold impacted voice) No one really complained. Then about 3:#0 in the morning the power returned. Lights. Blessed heat. But no cable TV. I could read the concern in my 12 y/o's face. Football is his joy and there was a big game on TV on Sunday. Would he get to see it? I reminded him that we could get it on the radio if the cable was still out. He nodded dubiously.

Compared to most families we don't watch a lot of TV. My wife and I see an hour or two in the evening but often the music is playing while we work now instead of the television. KC usually watches PBS kids tv for an hour in the morning an hour in the late afternoon and a couple hours at night. I thought he would have TV withdrawals or something. He is used to a routine. But putting on a video in those time slots did the job just fine. He loves to play and create things and the lack of television options unleashed that even more. If you had asked me before the ice storm if we could have lived without cable TV I would have said no. Now, I think it would be an adjustment but that we likely could do it just fine. And it makes me wonder what other things I think we need that we really don't. The thing we need the most is the love we have for each other and that we have in abundance.

Oh yeah, and the cable came back in time for the football game!

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