Methane Release in the Arctic

If you have not heard about the methane in the permafrost in the Arctic, this will be a bit alarming.  Scientists have been studying this for some time now.  There is a lot of permafrost, which is land that never thaws out, in the Arctic.  And, under that permafrost is trapped methane.  Siberia reached some high temperatures, along with other parts of the Arctic, this past summer.  I think I recall hearing 90.  So, the ice that comes back each fall is not freezing as fast.  And, the permafrost is beginning to thaw and release that methane.

Methane is a greenhouse gas that is much more potent than CO2 . . . some 84 times more potent according to the Just Have a Think video, “Arctic Methane.  Has 2020 triggered a tipping point?”  Methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere as CO2 if that is any consolation.

In that video, scientists are watching what is happening in the Laptev Sea in Siberia.  They have seen methane gas escaping from the permafrost in the Arctic at 400 times more than expected.  We may be concerned about the global temperature rising 1.0 degree but the release of that methane could raise the temperature .06 in a few months.  The video also explains how it works.

The two links below have a lot of information about the methane under the permafrost that is worth reading.  CO2 is at about 415 in the atmosphere right now but the methane release will make the climate crisis much worse in a short amount of time.

So, while we are counting covid cases, which contributes to people dying, the methane is escaping in the Arctic.  As I have mentioned before with some alarm is that the climate crisis is almost never in the news, as if it ever was front page news, since the pandemic started.  Rightly so in some regards.  We have never been through a pandemic . . . well there was SARS and H1N1 . . . but not this big. 

But, the climate crisis will threaten all of humanity.

The climate crisis needs to come back front and center in our minds.  We need to get off fossil fuels.  We need to reduce our consumption dramatically.

#arcticmethane #climateemergency #actnow

Arctic Methane. Has 2020 triggered a tipping point?

Just Have a Think —

Seven Facts You Need to Know About the Arctic Methane Timebomb

Kindling – It’s a Primal Thing

Kindling picture 1

On occasion, I have written about this feeling before.  Perhaps more so when I first moved into my little cabin.  But, every time I go out to gather kindling . . . I get the feeling again.

To me . . . it is something intrinsic to our nature.  It is primal.  And, we have lost it.  It has been replaced by fluorescent lighting, piped in music, and shelves upon shelves of fossil fuel laden food and products.

Yes, I still have to go into the big box grocery store and drive a car . . . the fossil fuel list goes on.  But, yesterday, as I was gathering kindling, that grocery store, etc., felt so unnatural . . . I am caught in between.

I carry on with my goal . . . to be as self sustaining as possible.  Even when I hear people say . . . there is no way you can grow all your own food . . . or it is so much work.  I say . . . the planet depends on me succeeding . . . and . . . my survival is at stake . . . not to mention the reconnecting of my inner being to what it knows is real . . . it is home. People have done this in the past . . . and are doing it today.

With persistence, I will learn how to grow my food.  Last year, so much went wrong in that garden that will teach me what to do better this year.  Yes, the cabbage heads didn’t show up, the potatoes were tiny, the pole beans didn’t come up, onions were too small, carrots and beets are so much trouble, and let’s add broccoli and brussel sprouts to that list, too.

But . . . I got 19 pint jars of canned tomatoes . . . and . . . that meant everything to me.

So, kindling . . . it helps start my fires in the wood stove . . . so I can survive the -40 that Nature dishes out.  It is a hand to mouth thing.  It is not covered in plastic wrap that I need scissors to get into.

My boots sunk into the foot of snow, as I trudged through to an area of trees and . . . watched a rabbit scamper through the field to the other side of the woods . . . heard the snap of each dry branch as I added them to my pile . . . felt the falling snow on my face . . . wondered what kind of shelter I could build in the nook of some trees . . . heard the silence of the gray day . . . enveloped in a milky winter sky . . . felt the knowing eyes of the ancestors guiding me.

Kindling . . . it’s a primal thing.

What Will You Eat This Winter?

That may be a bit of a provocative question.  Here are some foods that will be perfect for the winter, and they store well.  Sitting quite innocently are butternut squash, cabbage, beans, canned tomatoes, and canned peaches.  While there are many other vegetables that could be sitting there, it is a start.  My onions didn’t do so well, and I am still working on a grain.

Most people in the US don’t worry that much about what they will eat, let alone what they are going to eat this winter.  I don’t have the stats on how many people go hungry in the US compared to the global number, although I would venture to guess it has gone up with the virus. 

The question is meant to get us to think about not only growing our own food but planning for the winter.  It has only been in the last five years that I have really been actually trying to grow as much food as I can.  Before that, I only grew flowers.  And, as is the case with many things, I have known about climate change, which has now changed to climate crisis, for about 10 years, and the importance of growing our own food and acting on it.  Some information needs to settle in before it actually becomes action or goes to the next level of awareness.

This concept of planning food for the winter is not new.  People across the globe do it all the time.  They are not lulled or in the bubble of the separation from Nature.  Here in the US, we have Big Box stores for everything, and we can get anything at any time of day. 

Perhaps our experience with the pandemic may give us reason to be concerned about food security.  If we remember at our Big Box grocery stores at the start of the pandemic, there were empty shelves of . . . yes, toilet paper, among other things.  And, if you notice some nine months since it started, even now there are still empty shelves of various products. 

For some reason, the pandemic was responsible for many people starting gardens and canning for the first time.  It was most likely because everything was shut down the first three months, and it gave people something to do rather than be concerned about food security.  I am thankful for that.

A pandemic is so much more immediate than the slow process of the climate crisis.  People are dying now from the pandemic.  Why should we worry about the climate crisis?  People have been talking about it for decades.  But, people have been and are now dying from the climate crisis.  We just don’t see it as much or equate a hurricane or forest fires with the climate crisis.  It is not labelled as such in news reports.  Well, there may be an occasional news story that ties the climate crisis into the hurricane or forest fire.

So, how do we get people to act on really being serious about growing their own food . . . and planning what we grow for the winter?  That is a difficult question, and one that has been asked many times for many issues.  Perhaps people don’t have all the facts, or they don’t see the immediate need to act.

Our food system contributes a lot of CO2 to the climate crisis, which is the main reason to grow our own food.  The problems with our supply chain during this pandemic is another reason to grow our food.

Let’s go back to the butternut squash and other vegetables sitting there.  While many people may grow a garden with tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, corn, etc., how many people are thinking about what they are going to eat this winter?  Probably not many.  And, as the climate crisis starts to unravel more noticeably, getting off the grocery store will be more crucial. 

Growing food is one of the most immediate things people can actually do to help the climate crisis. Planning for the winter is just as important as growing all those vegetables we enjoy during the summer.

Deer Ticks Transmit Other Diseases Besides Lyme’s

So my little episode with the deer tick continues.  I share this with you as information that everyone needs to know.  Deer ticks transmit other diseases.  Anaplasmosis is one of them, and as I found out, it is a more serious disease than Lyme’s, although it is not as prevalent . . . yet.

A couple of weeks ago, I got another tick bite.  Because of the ordeal I went through with the first one, I wanted to make sure this wasn’t something I needed to be concerned about.  The tick bite left a red mark about the size of an M&M, and everyone mentions the bulls-eye that shows up from a deer tick bite.  Well, there wasn’t a big bulls-eye but it was a red mark.  So off to the clinic I went to make sure.

During my visit, I asked the nurse if she could pull up my records while I was in the hospital.  She said sure.  We both looked it over, and there it was, Lyme’s showed a negative result.  Then again, Lyme’s was negative.  Then, anaplasmosis showed positive.  I was surprised because the paperwork they gave me when I left the hospital on anaplasmosis had me believing it was part of Lyme’s.

Well, my friend, who really saved my life, sent me an article on anaplasmosis.  It is another deer tick disease all its own.  And, as I can attest to, it isn’t fun and much more serious.  The link to the article is below.  It was published in TODAY by Linda Carroll, October 12, 2017.

The article states that it is on the rise.  It dwarfs Lyme’s right now at 3,656 in 2015 compared to Lyme’s at 28,453.  The gentleman in the article, who got anaplasmosis, had his kidneys start to fail.  It is important to have it treated right away.  The Portland Press Herald in Maine said 25% of the cases required hospitalization.  Who gets hospitalized for Lyme’s? 

That was one of the main reasons I got so sick was because I was waiting for my body to deal with it and have it run its course, like a cold.  Well, that didn’t happen.  I had no idea I had that type of a tick bite. 

I won’t be waiting next time I get 104 temperature.  Please be on the lookout for this.

How Technology Can Separate Us

Yes, this is just another way to get to Wal-Mart.

Mass consumerism and the fossil fuels that drive our lifestyle are the main reason we have climate change and resource depletion.  There are many things we can learn from the Amish to help the Planet and ourselves.

I am no expert on the Amish but they aren’t mass consuming anything, that I can see.  We have several communities of Amish in the SW corner of the Driftless area of Wisconsin where I live. Their dress and houses are plain and humble.  The women don’t purchase expensive purses, fancy clothes or shoes, makeup or jewelry, and the men’s wardrobes are equally plain.  They make their clothes.

Most of their food is grown and canned so hardly any processed foods are purchased.  A buggy or cart is used for transportation, with the occasional car or bus ride by an English person.  In these situations, the destination is too far or time is an issue.  They also live close together and help each other, which fosters community. 

They may seem boring to the average American but I think their system eliminates many of the problems we have in our society.  Their lifestyle is so much more sustainable, and their carbon footprint is barely a blip on the scale.

Our system on the other hand has every person on their own, fending for themselves, which breeds isolation and loneliness, many times.  And, our carbon footprint is the highest in the world per person.

I was reading Eric Brende’s book, “Better Off,” and he brings up how technology separates us in his book.  He is living off grid with his wife in an Amish community.  I don’t know the reasons why the Amish shun electricity and most technology, but from a personal experience with an Amish friend, who I bought some wood from, I can see firsthand how technology does separate us.

One day, my Amish friend called me up to drive his kids to school because it was -10.  I said sure.  I picked them up and couldn’t believe all the kids walking to school in that weather.  A couple of days later, my friend called me up to say he wanted to pay me.  I said forget it, I was happy to do it.  He insisted, and, again, I said to forget it.  He could pay me next time he needed me to drive them.  During the conversation, I mentioned that I needed to split my wood, and he jumped to offer his help.  I felt bad telling him I bought a log splitter and wouldn’t need his help.

Well, that log splitter had sat in the box a month before I pulled it out, and I found it to be defective.  I was feeling a little pressured to get some logs split and thought of my friend.  I stopped by one night to visit and asked him if his offer was still good.  He said he was busy the next few days, and that night was the best day for him.

Along with his two, young boys, we headed over to my place.  After a quick tour of my cabin, he got to work.  For about an hour and a half, he split wood while we talked.  Sure, I can have my log splitter and use it myself but this was a perfect example of how it divides us.  We were building a friendship over that one and a half hours.  I valued that much more than having my log splitter.

A few days later, he asked if I could drive him to get his motor for the mill fixed.  It was a bartered exchange.  We called it even, and he said he could finish splitting my wood when I needed.

I am not Amish, although I am living pretty close to their lifestyle, but feel fortunate to have an Amish family for my friends.  It’s a bit lonely hanging out with my log splitter.

No Electricity and Living Off Grid

As the weeks went by after I first moved in, I would wonder how I was making it without electricity.  One month went by and no electricity.  How is that possible?  I went over my list:  water from a well, heat from a wood stove, propane camping stove to cook, Waka Waka lights and candles for lighting, a cooler for my food, outhouse for waste, cabin for shelter . . . all good.  What do I need electricity for?  Life is fine without my toaster, blender, coffeemaker, blow dryer, TV, or computer.  I either substituted or did without.

TV?  I haven’t watched TV for over 10 years.  I was accustomed to watching a DVD occasionally, but hey, I didn’t miss them yet.  Music comes from my mp3 and some small speakers that can be recharged.  A few solar lights have a USB port to charge my cellphone and mp3.  Life is still good.

Well, there was a minor downside with the Waka Waka lights.  They have a solar panel on the back side and two LED lights on the front side.  They are approximately 4” x 6”.  I set them out each day to be recharged.  Even on cloudy days, they will gain some charge.  The charge may last a day, but if there is a cloudy day, they aren’t as bright.

One night it was particularly dim due to some cloudy days.  I hit a breaking point.  Could I just have some normal light so I can at least cook, eat, and do my dishes?  This is not asking for much.  Right?  Think about it.  Of all the conveniences I wanted, lights were it!  Forget a TV, stereo, toaster, etc.  Give me lights.

There had to be a solution without having to install a massive amount of solar panels that would be very expensive.  So I searched online and found a solar system with 3 hanging dome lights by Solar King with a small solar panel approximately 8” x 12”.  It was $150.  Backwoods Solar also had some small systems that would have run about $500-$600 with a 12 volt battery and a solar panel that would run lights on AC with an inverter.  Running on DC would be a little cheaper.

I went with the Solar King dome lights.  It was a perfect solution.  We have had a good mixture of sunny and cloudy days, and the lights are always running and charged.  Eventually, I will get a small 12 volt battery and one solar panel system for lights in the living room.  But now, I can cook, eat, and do my dishes and see what I am doing.

I also caved a bit and bought a small generator, just in case we got the cloudy days we had last January.  They lasted all month.  The generator would ensure I had light.  There are a few downsides to the generator, like exhaust and a little noise, but I would be able to have light, charge my phone, watch a movie, use a drill, etc.  No items with heat would be used on this generator like a blow dryer, toaster, coffeemaker, etc. because it is not big enough. Generators tend to bring you a bit closer to the reality of what fossil fuels are all about and what they emit. It isn’t the whole story by a stretch but it gives you a clue.

Granted, the normal house is all hooked into all the electrical appliances and gadgets you want. And, we are very used to having all of these conveniences. There are also things that we use electricity for like fans for dispersing heat throughout our homes or starting our furnaces and air conditioners or keeping our refrigerators running that we don’t think about at all until a storm shuts all power off and the food goes bad in the freezer. But, when there is no electricity, it is somewhat easier, I found, to see exactly what electricity is used for.

I have to admit that, besides light, having a charged cellphone is critical. A friend of mine, upon hearing that I would not have electricity, exclaimed in minor panic, “How will you charge your cellphone?” I get that now because I am constantly charging my phone, and my generator has come in handy for that when we get a bunch of cloudy days and all my solar chargers are spent.

This lifestyle is doable without electricity.  There is life without a toaster.

Raising the Bar

Looks so innocent, doesn’t it?  A bar of soap.  Simple.  Who would look at it as a solution for climate change.  Well, not by itself.  But once you get on the “what can I do to stop climate change train,” simple things like a bar of soap get on the list of lifestyle changes.  It can become an obsession.  A good one.  Solutions are everywhere once we understand how our lifestyle and the consumer economy impacts the environment.

Let’s take that bar of soap.  Now, this is a new brand that I recently purchased so I don’t know how well it will perform.  My previous brand, that I used to wash my hair daily, lasted three months.  You may think . . . that’s special . . . but if I got the normal size shampoo in a plastic bottle, it may last two weeks if I’m lucky.

There is more processing in the plastic bottle than the bar of soap.  For starters, oil needs to be extracted to make the plastic, then the shampoo is created, sold, and then discarded.  The bottle may or may not get recycled or it ends up in a landfill.  The bar on the other hand has no packaging to create or throw away.  You can also save a boatload of money on the bar versus the bottle.  The bar of soap may have cost $1.50 versus $3-4 per bottle.

There is a documentary called, “No Impact Man,” created by Colin Beavan where he, his wife, and young daughter go on a yearlong experiment to get off fossil fuels.  When I first saw it, I thought, ah, that’s nice.  Then I saw it several years later and had begun changing my lifestyle.  I thought . . . ok . . . I’m not No Impact Man but I am on my way. The seed had been planted.  I totally recommend that documentary.  He also wrote a book by the same name, I believe.

Here are some examples of things to do in your everyday life to reduce your carbon footprint. And, if you aren’t familiar with that term or water footprint, it is how much carbon/pollution or water was used to produce a product or part of our lifestyle.  You may do some of these things already but there are always more to add.

Use a refillable water bottle instead of buying water bottles.  Documentaries like, “Flow” and “Blue Gold” are very helpful to understand why a refillable bottle is the way to go. Bottled water companies are actually stealing water from someone else’s water table.

Use diluted dishsoap in an empty pump container instead of those fancy foam handsoaps. They are tempting because of the fragrances but think of all the plastic containers you will save from the recycling plant. A bar of soap would be equally better.

Use a cloth towel instead of paper towels.

Line dry your clothes.

Wear more layers and use more blankets and turn your heat down in the winter.

Go without air conditioning when possible.

Become a vegetarian and get off dairy, too. This is actually a lifestyle change that can make a really big difference.  A lot of carbon goes into the air to grow food to feed the cow to feed us.  Cows drink a lot of water, too.  I recommend watching the documentary, “Cowspiracy.”

Switch from buying plastic wrap, baggies, and tin foil and use a reusable plastic container instead.

Buy whole fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods.

Eat seasonally.

Reduce coffee and tea or eliminate them.  Both of those are not grown in the US, although there may be a small amount of tea.

Reduce what you purchase, in general, if you really don’t need it or buy it used.

Grow your own fruits and vegetables and can them when possible.

Do I do all of these things?  Not yet.  I am still working on some.  Coffee and tea are tough to give up and eating seasonally is hard, too.  It is a process.  We do what we can when we can.

We also get ideas from other people and friends.  We raise the bar for each other.  I remember when a friend mentioned that she line dried most of her clothes.  I thought that it was nice but didn’t think of doing it myself.  Some six months later . . . it was a Sunday . . . I was out eating breakfast.  All of a sudden, I had to get a drying rack and clothesline.  After breakfast, I purchased those items, set them up in my basement, and haven’t used the dryer since.  That was about five years ago.

Our country does not have a national program to address climate change and resource depletion.  So, it is up to us!

A Tick Takes Me Down

I guess it was only a matter of time that the infamous deer tick and I would have an encounter.

In the silence of my first night in the hospital, I wondered how close I came to not being in that bed, with all my thoughts running wild.  A temperature of a 104 for an adult for several days tends to push one’s mental functioning to the brink of . . . delirium.  I was already physically weak.  OMG, trying to pump water . . . and only 3 gallons in each of the two containers at that, was almost impossible.

It was Monday morning that I surrendered and asked my friend to take me to the ER after the morning’s pee ended up once more at the edge of the bed.  Losing bladder control was also a symptom, along with the fever, no appetite, chills, weakness, along with my brain that was slipping away.

The whole ordeal started that Wednesday with a fever of 102.  By Thursday, it was still 102, and I went in to have a COVID test.  My sister, Karen, who is a nurse, said if the COVID test came back negative then something else was definitely going on.  I never suspected a tick.  Somewhere in my mind, I thought this was a cold with a fever, and it would just go away.

I knew deer ticks were a package deal when I moved up here.  Most everyone here has danced with Lyme’s disease from that lovely tick . . . the tick that is so small you almost need a microscope to see.  From the beginning, I decided to put any fear at bay and just be vigilant.  I was not going to let some tiny tick rob me of the beauty of the fog filled valley in the mornings . . . the majestic full moon rising over the ridge . . . to all the songbirds in symphony delighting in the new day . . . to every other moment of grandeur surrounding me.  Wasn’t this all worth it?  As I wrestled with my feelings that first night, I thought, of course it is worth it!  I wasn’t going to pack my things and go back to a lot the size of a stamp and sidewalks to never see an indigo bunting or rose breasted grosbeak again.

 The fact I was in the hospital came down to one thing . . . having a friendship with Michele, who I check in with every day.  Who else would know my mind was slipping and would order the first ambulance after conferring with Karen?  Some people spend time watching TV or making sure they have enough money for retirement.  I value my friends.  I say you can never have too many good friends.

We usually spend our time ruminating over the ills of our country and society.  But this time, a fever of 104 was what I had to share, and my friends were there for me.  My family was also worried.  Karen ordered a wellness visit by the county.  I could barely get out of the chair when the guy showed up.  It must be noted that Michele and Karen are both in IL, 3-1/2 hours away.  Karen also called my brother, John, in MO to let him know what was going on.

 Well, I am home with no fever, and my appetite is back.  Although my legs are a bit wobbly, I’ll get my strength back.

And, I can pump water again.

The COVID test came back negative the day I went into the hospital.  My doctor suspected a tick right away.  His hunch was right.

TV shows and a boat load of retirement money weren’t going to get me out of this mess.

Friends and family did, along with a trip to the hospital.

How to Dehull Buckwheat?

Now, there is a question everyone has on their mind, right?

Here it is . . . my first grain.  And, it may not be the keeper, unless I can find a way to dehull it.  When you think of the average garden, growing a grain is not top on your list.  Most likely, it is not even on your list.  But, as a survivalist . . .  yes, I claim to be one, next to environmentalist, minimalist, and the list goes on . . .  a grain has to be on the list.

There has to be something to go with all of those veggies, canned tomatoes, and pole beans.  Of course, a grain!

So, for some reason, I chose buckwheat.  I don’t know.  I don’t even eat it.  I have tried it a few times, and it has a nice flavor but didn’t stick with it.  I probably wouldn’t have tried quinoa again after the first time I cooked it but I have since learned how to get it light and fluffy.  Great stuff!

I started planting the buckwheat in rows and then said, forget it, and broadcast the rest, which turned out perfect.  It is now 4 ft. tall with the buckwheat turning dark brown.  According to one website, it can be dark brown and still not be ready to harvest.  Well, I am winging it.

This is the challenge.  How to dehull it?  Yes, there is some fancy equipment out there for the low, low price of . . . forget it.  Actually, most of the equipment is for bigger operations or milling for buckwheat flour.  The buckwheat doesn’t even look that big.  Perhaps, I should have gotten a variety that was bigger if there is even that option.  When I look at it, I think . . . there is nothing left after the hull comes off.  I don’t want flour either.  This is for groats or whatever they are called.

There was not very much online to help with this predicament either.  But really, buckwheat is not the mainstay of the American diet.  I need a direct line to people in Eastern Europe or Asia, who have been eating this forever.  And, they do not have any fancy equipment to get their buckwheat dehulled.

Anyone have any experience or advice to give?

If not, next year I’ll try quinoa.

Nature vs. Technology – What Have We Lost?

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Nature, it is one of the reasons I moved here.  Let me tell you.  There are very few places that real Nature exists anymore.  In between the miles of big box stores, malls, housing subdivisions, corn and soybean fields, restaurants, grocery stores, schools, hospitals, office buildings, and warehouses, there are Nature Centers for us to visit.

But here, I experience Nature firsthand.  Stars that fill the night sky, moonlight caressing the whole valley, frogs and toads, fog most every morning, birds singing, and silence.  The stillness of the woods fills my being.  It is an energy . . . an energy connecting me and the woods.  We are one.  Something a cubicle and fluorescent lighting can never do.

I hear coyotes at night.  Never have I heard coyotes.  Their yipping and howling intrigues me.  I have heard owls for the first time.  A deer screeched as I went to enter the woods on a path I cut.  I was so startled, I retreated.  There was a red headed woodpecker in the trees one day while I was getting water or wood.  Because it was winter and the trees were bare, it was very easy to spot him.

The other night I heard something in the woods, and I tried to spot what it was with my flashlight.  I deducted it had to be a deer because the sound of the noise was not light.  I swear I saw two eyes shining in the light of the flashlight.  For several minutes, I waited with bated breath to see if it would come out so I could view it.  Didn’t happen.  Oh, well.  So many new things I have not seen or heard before.

My mom keeps telling everyone that I am cooking outside, which is true.  And, up to that point, the weather had been good.  Then it got cold.  It was 4 below zero, and I was outside cooking, and it was still good.

Why?  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  Maybe it connects me with ancient practices.  I mean, that is what they did.  They didn’t press a button and turn up the heat.  Is it awful putting on extra clothes and boots to heat up some soup?  Not in the least.  Believe me, I am still connected to plenty of convenient gadgets and processes but this is back to basics.

I recently finished a book by Eric Brende, “Better Off:  Flipping the Switch on Technology,” which is about a couple that is foregoing technology to live in an Amish type community.  There are converts, like they are, in the community, too, along with Amish families.  There is probably a reason he explains why they are there but I don’t exactly remember.  But they are there.

Why are we drawn to this type of lifestyle?  The rest of the US thinks we are crazy.  And, it is something other than just getting off fossil fuels.  I think it is good for our inner beings.  It is good because it brings us back to basics, to survival, some primal, instinctive nature we left at the doorstep of the Industrial Revolution.  For all the good it seems, all the conveniences, deep down, I am thinking they are actually robbing us of our primal nature.

I went in my woods to gather twigs for kindling for my fires.  Now put that on your list of activities that you can’t wait to do.  For me, there are no words again to describe the task or feeling of being in Nature.  Maybe it brings me back to my childhood when we made forts, climbed trees, and played in the creek.  Maybe it brings me, once again, to primal, ancient practices we have long lost.

A friend sent an email before the winter really started.  He said, “Winter is exciting.”  So when I saw him next, I asked him why he thought it was exciting.  No one would say winter is exciting.  He said it is survival.  He and his partner heat with only a wood stove, as well, and harvesting wood is ensuring survival.

My current lifestyle borders on primitive.  Many would say it is definitely primitive.  But I would argue, or, at least point out, there are many conveniences within the so called “primitive” lifestyle I have.  There are many things that I have that were created with fossil fuels that primitive or indigenous peoples didn’t have.  But, I suppose, by our current standards, it is primitive.

What is the price of having technology?  And, I am still a far cry from having no technology, although my lifestyle looks very radical.  Environmentally, the price is huge.  Survival is at stake.  Psychologically, or perhaps spiritually is a better word, the price seems small.  But is it?

Technology has taken us so far from Nature that we don’t know what it is, for most of us anyway, and visiting a forest or nature center doesn’t count in my book.  There is a saying in the Koran that goes something like, “a loss is a gain, and a gain is a loss.”  If technology is a gain, then we have truly lost Nature in our inner most beings, as we are Nature.  Who wouldn’t take convenience?  A push of a button over cutting wood for a fire? 

I don’t have any idea how to measure what we have lost.  I only feel there is a price we have paid for it.