Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Simplicity Is Not Simple

I've learned a lot in the past few months...

I've always wondered what the cabin would be like in the winter. We spent an occasional weekend here before we moved here. It was usually a quick visit and rarely when there was snow on the ground. I anticipated the quiet woods and beautiful snow covered scenery that would be mine to enjoy on a daily basis once we lived here.

Let me tell you now. Snow is snow. It's the same everywhere. It's cold, it's depressing, it's inconvenient, it limits your activity and your choices. It may be pretty for awhile, but once you track through it in bulky coats and awkward rubber boots, it loses its appeal. Once you haul in tractor loads of firewood, feel your hand numbing while getting the mail, and have your eyes water when stepping outside, then the love is gone.

I don't think I expected this. I thought curling up with hot chocolate and a good book would be romantic and peaceful. And it is. For a day or two. Not for months! Not for what seems like FOREVER! 

My eyes scan the frosty horizon and I mourn for spring. I never thought I'd look forward to mowing the yard and weeding the garden and thinning the woods and fighting the bugs. I never thought I would feel trapped here. 

I never expected this anger.

I know that when spring finally arrives I will be ecstatic! It will be like the Wizard of Oz. I'll be dropped from the icy tornado of winter into a beautiful, flower filled world of color and music. I will dance. Sing. Shout hallelujah!

We discuss building on this year, but keep going back and forth- trying to decide on money matters and trying to predict the economy.
I am ready to spread my wings a little. Fluff my nest. 
Stretch. Stretch. Stretch.

My heart says that only now matters. That we must live in the moment. But I haven't always been the wisest one in this marriage. All I know is winter is not what I dreamed it would be ...and thinking of living though another one like this again has left me a bit downhearted. 

The biggest lesson I've learned is this: I've learned you never really simplify your life. Your baggage goes with you. You learn to need certain things. Like Internet and satellite TV, eating out, tech toys and computers, extra buildings, tractors and tools and entertainment. You can never get away from car payments and mortgages and utility bills. You need a phone, new clothes and modern appliances.

It is a true art knowing how to pare down to the essentials. 
And to actually enjoy the sparsity of such a lifestyle.

Maybe I'm spoiled. Lazy. Ill equipped. All I know is this winter has me thinking negative thoughts. And I am usually the positive voice.

I'm sure once the daffodils shoot up across the hillside and dogwoods bloom with cotton colored blossoms, I'll think differently. Once the blue birds and robins return to build nests in the treetops, I will be smiling again. Once the warm breeze blows my hair and the night stars hang heavy in the sky, I will love this place again. And I'll forget today. This blue funk. This virtual pity party.

Spring, please hurry. Please...

Thursday, February 6, 2014


I've unintentionally gone three months without posting. I'm sure how that happened. Time just got away from me. The duties of life took over and random thoughts on paper took a back seat to important responsibilities.

It's not that I haven't written all this time. I've just been writing in my head and my heart. At night while I'm lying in bed, in the morning when I watch the birds on the snow, during quiet evenings when the fireplace glows a thousand colors- I sort through words and put them together till they feel good. They just haven't found their way to paper yet...

We've had a cold winter here. Luckily the cabin is small and the fireplace big. And the fact that we don't have to venture out unless we are starving helps us accept it somewhat.
There are days I feel shackled by these walls, bound by my little counter and stove, crushed into a corner full of too many clothes, overflowing papers, and boxes of who- knows- what. 
But other days I feel exposed, open, lacking those proper walls and boundaries that secure privacy.
I've come to realize there is no happy medium. But such is the case in any home, so I roll with it.

There are days when I awaken and feel a dull sense of pain. A tiny, throbbing homesickness. A quick stab of nostalgia.
It's in those moments I look back to the big house we left. To soft carpeting underfoot, a collection of glassware displayed in a cupboard, a deep, warm bathtub filled with bubbles, the smell of fabric softener drifting from the laundry room, a shelf stacked with good books, a favorite table to play games, a place to listen to sweet music, a favorite chair....

It's also in these moments that I forget why we moved here.

We moved here because it is magic.

Once you come down that forest road and through the rusty gate it's obvious that this place is special. A big red barn, a tiny little cabin, and giant oaks that spread their arms in every season. A friendly scarecrow, an abundant garden, and flowers that sing. Secret pathways through the woods, wildlife that shows up at unexpected moments, and butterflies that dance among the dandelions. The fire pit glowing with embers, a stack of freshly cut wood, straight lines mowed across a green lawn, and a creek that bubbles from the earth. At night there are stars so thick and bright that they take your breath away. You just stare up at the night sky and say, " Ahhhhhh..." 

These are the things that matter. 
Not the little house or the fancy things. Not the extra room or extra things.

And I ask the good Lord right now to not ever let me become callous or indifferent to this beauty. Don't ever let me be looking over the fence when paradise is under my feet. Please let me breathe this fresh air, explore these wonderful woods, and enjoy these simple pleasures for all my life.