Friday, May 8, 2009

Voluntary Simplicity

From 1975 through 1979 my guy and I lived out of the city. We subscribed to Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening magazine and started a new life in a tiny cottage bordered by a field of wild grasses and a large woodlot. We had already given up phone service. Now we added in letting go of the TV, radio and the use of electricity. Our evenings were mellowed by the soft glow of kerosene lamps.

We fell in love with an antique wood stove discovered in the back corner of a country flea market. I basked in the warmth while handstitching a quilt from 22 Oxford shirts previously worn to his job at IBM.

I raised Rhode Island Reds, the chicks living in a box in the kitchen until they were ready to move out to the little shake shingled house beside the compost pile. I named my rooster Tip O'Neil, the speaker of the house.

Bramble, the Old English Sheepdog and Brandy,the Irish Setter were trained to walk along the outside border of the large garden but that didn't keep Bramble from leaning her head in off the pathway to steal the ripe and luscious Roma tomatoes. Munch. Munch.

Here, two blocks from the shore of Lake Erie, in the delicious quiet I began to live my artist dream, drawing and painting for hours each day and riding my bicycle over to receive my 'Tuesday's reviews' while visiting Mr. and Mrs. Domonkas.

This is a watercolor of my cottage and my fella relaxing beside the old wood stove.

Sharmon is correct I was being influenced by Chagall and Matisse and also Miro who taught me that "Every blade of grass has a beautiful soul, courage consists of staying home and close to nature. Nature who takes no account of our calmaties." I've loved that wisdom ever since.


  1. hey D, I'm having a hard time picturing you hand stitching a quilt from former IBM oxford shirts by kerosene light - that just cracks me up in a warm my heart kind of way! You've described such an innocent scene, a perfect slice of youthful life, to me.
    Love that quote from Miro - thanks for sharing it. You're so good at pulling up and presenting those gems :) love you, K

  2. It sounds like an idyllic life in many ways. thanks for sharing another piece of your experience with us. I love the Miro quote; had not heard that before. I'd also love to see some of the wildflowers from where you live now.

  3. Yuppers...kerosene lamps, wood heat and Oxfords... :-)
    As we well know there are often under currents that impact any scene...there were many opportunities to learn during this time that 'thoughts are things'. I had already discovered and devoured the Seth Material by this time and so had a hardy and heady practice going on of 'creating my own reality'.
    Not idyllic yet far improved from what I had been unconsciously creating prior.


Thanks for stopping '-)