We are slowing down. In fact, the only thing speeding up around here these days is the rate at which we are slowing down*. This is not news so much as a freshened realization, yet another reminder of our own mortality. But still, such reminders are sometimes rude in their increasingly frequent manifestation.
I am reminded of this more and more, of course, but never so poignantly as just after finishing Chris Czajkowski’s latest book on wilderness dwelling, AND THE RIVER STILL SINGS. Chris is the real deal. She has been off the grid in BC for the last 35 years and doing so in a much more remote and harsher environment than we ever encountered.
Chris had bear invasions, meters of snow, wildfires and bugs galore plus she built everything herself and had barely enough money to buy the minimal parts she needed to get the job done. But she did get it done. She set the bar pretty high for OTG’ers. She is a real inspiration if not just a tad too hard to follow for us. I would have expired by now had I done it like Chris.
In her latest book, CC starts to slow down her pioneering ways. Her knees won’t do the job anymore. She has a few health challenges. She is getting older and without a Sally or Dave to help maintain the pace. Chris recently moved down from her aerie in Nuk Tesli, a remote wilderness mini resort in the high Chilcotins to a lower, on-the grid (barely) residence that is easier to manage. The impression given as the book ends is that her wilding days are over. Chris is roughly my age.
Her wilding days are over at the higher level she previously achieved. No question. But Chris is still doing ten times what most people do at her age and she just considers it normal living. That is one of the legacy benefits of living outdoors. Living remote. Chopping wood when you are in your nineties is nothing to write a book about when you have been doing it your whole life.
Like I said, she is an inspiration.
But she is also a prolific writer. She has written at least ten books on living remote. I recommend that, if you have this kind of interest, you look her up. http://wildernessdweller.ca.
As for us, well, we are playing in a lower, slo-pitch league. The kind with happy hour now and then. We can keep it up, as it were, at the pace we chose for another decade for sure. Our softy wilding days still have some time to play out. And, if Chris is anything to go by, we won’t have to leave our paradise even then; we will just have to get in a bit of help occasionally. And, with a bit of luck, all the BIG projects will be done.
She inspired us, she reminded us of our age and she inspires us to keep at it. And we will. We’ll just break for tea more often is all.
*None of the above applies to quilting. The quilting fever is still burning hot and calories are being expended prodigiously. But, I for one, find it tiring just watching that activity and so I have taken to the occasional nap when the cloth bits start to fly. There is an exception to every rule and quilting is NOT slowing down.