For years I've been reading about the simplicity movement. I really admire those people who have turned against the commercialism of "stuff" and have chosen a life that in lived intentionally. I've read Mother Earth Magazine and dreamed of the 'simpler' life of a hobby farm or at least a rural setting. All the people that have embraced this movement seem to have really found the secret of happiness for them. Life is about living for the simple pleasures, and not about always achieving, or always climbing to the "next level". Life is about living in the moment, with those you love the most. I have tried, with some limited success, to find some of that peace and happiness.
And then along came Hurricane Irene. Some say it was a tropical storm but where I live it was a hurricane, to be sure. Irene, in all her glory, has given me a taste of 'simple' living whether I wanted it or not. It came into Southern Connecticut on August 28, 2011, and left in it's wake a path of sticks and leaves that were once lovely trees. And those trees, in their beautiful mass and girth, managed to take out the electrical grid for most of the area. In our neighborhood large old oaks and maples were blown over like sandcastles and with them strands of electrical lines that once brought us our little comforts like running water and lights.
At first it was a novelty. I thought "Oh this is great. I get to knit all day without guilt that I should be doing laundry or vacuuming." And for the first day, it was okay. We had water stored up, a camp stove, and plenty to eat. "Within a day or so the power will be back." After all, we had only some branches and leaves down in our yard. No biggie.
When the storm cleared and we felt it safe to venture out, we took a drive around town. When we saw how many massive trees were in shambles, how many power lines were ripped from houses and poles, how there was no evidence of any electrical power for at least 10 miles around, we knew this was bigger than anything we had ever experienced before.
(the story will continue next week....)