Over the last ten years the most common question posed by friends in the city was, “So, exactly what do you do all day up there in the middle of nowhere?” The implication in the tone and the question itself was that we were living in some kind of stimulus wasteland, a boring backwater of staring at trees and hammering nails. Where was the interest, they wondered?
‘Surely, you must be bored out of our gourd?’
My answer to that was pretty direct. I wrote a blog almost every day about what was happening. And there was always something happening. The days I missed writing were usually because the day was so full, there was not even time in it for writing it up. Life there was never boring. In fact, the opposite is true. Life was (and likely still is) always interesting, challenging, entertaining and fascinating. Beautiful, natural and magic is a bonus.
You might have noticed that my writing output down here has tapered off somewhat. And what I am writing about has a negative tone. Yesterday, I wrote almost 500 words about the ironic isolation of the rich residing in the über expensive neighbourhood we are visiting. Despite the lavish surroundings, community is nowhere to be seen in this neighbourhood. More to the point: people are hardly seen. Luxury cars are the substitute. This is a stimulus wasteland.
I didn’t post that blog. Too negative. Sal didn’t approve. And, honestly, I don’t dislike the people in our neighbourhood. I don’t know them. Nor will I ever get to know them. I will not bump into them. I will not exchange pleasantries. No one will ever stop and chat. We are all invisible to each other.
Nor do I dislike a little luxury now and then. There is nothing wrong with a granite counter-top or a big screen TV. And I confess willingly to drooling over some of the new cars. But I don’t need them. And they are NOT interesting. Once the granite countertop is in place, it is a counter-top. A simple hard surface. It is NOT a raven. It is not an Orca. It isn’t even comparable to a visit from a squirrel. It is just a counter-top in a kitchen upon which one makes a sandwich. Plywood will do that. Sadly, the same can be said for the TV. I don’t care how big the screen, the content is drivel. Watching it is a waste of time.
But, let’s face it, materialism is kinda fun. For a day, anyway. OK, in the case of fancy cars, maybe a week. Two at the tops. After that, it all fades into the background. To get that same kind of first-time, new-car-smell ‘kick’ we have to buy something new again. And soon. And then we need another shopping ‘fix’ soon after that one when the thrill wears off.
I have met people down here who think shopping is their job!
You wonder what we do all day up there in the forest? Well, first off, the Orcas and the ravens are the gifts that keep on giving. So is the giant canvas on which nature is painted.
The real question is: what do urban people do all day?
And, yes, I know the hypocrisy of what I am saying. I lived down here (when I didn’t know better) and I am currently living here and, yes, I am shopping. But instead of that disqualifying my comments I think it partly validates them. I can see the difference now. It is so obvious once you get out.