Sunday, June 28, 2009

struggling with evil

adam pulled "the meaning of happiness" by alan watts off the bookshelf. a friend loaned it to me several years ago, but i never could get into it. recently, i opened it at random and was just blown away by this passage:

The exaggeration of the power of temptation can hardly be a positive means of overcoming it.... As long as in our struggle against evil we regard it as strong and enticing, and at the same time both awe-inspiring and forbidden, we are not going to achieve any radical or final victory over will remain invincible as long as it is so regarded.... the attraction of evil is a lie and an illusion.... Only the knowledge of its absolute emptiness and tedium can give us victory over it.

This states perfectly something that has gradually dawned on me over the years, but had never quite put into words for myself.

There is a great deception in the world on this subject. It quite possibly has been fed by well-meaning sermons, which insist that we must never let down our guard, and always renew our strength to battle temptation.

Trying to be strong and rigid against an enemy that we perceive as relentless is exhausting, and eventually one must break.

The alternative is seeing the enemy as who he really is, a deceiver, who tricks us into thinking that extramarital affairs are fun or fulfilling, that lies will make our lives easier, that stealing is worth it, that we are entitled to hold grudges. We simply must see the lies for what they are.

Faithfulness, truth, integrity, and humility are what we want in our lives. Each of these leads to peace. There is no need for an endless struggle.

I'm going to start at the beginning and see what other gems this book has to offer.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

road trip research

we're using maps, the internet, and travel books from the library (along with another i just bought) to research and plan for our road trip. i decided to make a little book to write things in.

each town has a page, where i can write information about things we're interested in. colleges, the population of the town, any food co-ops or farmer's markets, camping, and local attractions to check out. or whatever else the guidebooks say that interests us.

the book was really quite easy to make. i folded and ripped some large pieces of paper to size, then clipped them together and drilled two holes (with a carpenter drill and normal bit). i covered two pieces of cardboard with pretty pictures and punched holes in them. then i used the two rings i still had left from a long time ago and there it is. i love it.

it's like having our own personalized guide book. hopefully the book will be not only a guide but filled with memories from the trip, too. i guess i'd better go work on writing more things down. this warm weather is making me lazy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

magical appearing of cherry tomatoes

I was overcome with excitement when i first spotted these pea-sized tomatoes. First of the season!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

mushrooms and squirrels

maybe it's all the rain we've had around here, or maybe i'm just paying attention where i didn't before, but there have been SO many mushrooms this year!

with thinking about wild foods, my curiousity definitely drifts into the mushroom department too.

i'm looking at some books on mushrooms. it's a little scary, with all the warnings on "this could be fatal!!!" and disclaimers. but still, a fascinating world to explore, especially in the future when hopefully we'll have even more time to spend learning about all the varied life forms around us.


a tiny anecdote: don't know if its heartwarming or heartbreaking--i think both.

yesterday morning adam spotted a dead squirrel in our parking lot. it was pretty clear it was flattened by a car.

as we watched, other squirrels kept running over to it, getting very agitated and twitching their tails a lot, and then running away.

there were probably at least 5 squirrels in the close vicinity, going back and forth.

were they all brothers? cousins? i think they were in shock or grief over the loss of one of their buddies.

i felt like crying, but i was also overcome with the feeling of love and caring and connectedness that these little guys were exhibiting for each other.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

voluntary poverty

"...if your purpose in life is to remain relatively free by remaining relatively poor, you can’t lose."
-Gene Logsdon, in the responses to comments on his latest post here.

I don't know if I'd say our purpose is to remain free & poor, but it seems to be a good path to our goals.

Certain types of poverty make life stressful, I know. Poverty that leaves you without choices, and quite desperate just to survive.

But I think there is another type of poverty. Voluntary poverty is choosing to live with as little as possible in order to be as free as possible.

I find this type of poverty to be a constant learning experience, and full of promise and fulfillment.

I also believe that nature is full of generosity and bounty, and that being poor in money gives you more time to enjoy the free riches growing in the sunshine.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

my fire escape garden

the tomatoes plants are huge, and blooming. we've eaten several salads with the lettuce. basil is a treat, and cilantro and parsely too. peppers and tomatoes will take time. radishes have been eaten one at a time. they are tiny but a treat. i never really ate a radish before. spinach and kale are doing fine. we eat them in salads or sandwiches often.

the weird tuft of growth between the two tomato plants are a handful of wild onions i picked and then never did anything with. they are still alive somehow. poor things. i watered them one and i think the frequent rain and the dirt on their roots is keeping them alive.

i guess i'll be giving these containers away when we move, to someone who can care for then and enjoy them for the rest of the season. i have no regrets, though. i learned a lot and next year i'll have another garden, i'm sure of it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

stepping out

We are setting out soon on a journey to find a place to live. We don't know exactly how to find what we are looking for. We know some of the things we'd like to be close to:

a good library
a college
a food co-op
organic farms and farmer's markets
a raw milk source
big natural parks or other wild areas
lots of greenness and quiet

One thing we have going for us is that we've saved up enough money to be able to take some time for this. We'll be moving out of our place, storing our things, and camping for up to 2 months. We have a region in mind.

As we've given notice at our jobs, people have asked us what our plans are. It is hard for people to understand that we don't know where we are moving, and we don't have jobs lined up.

I found it very assuring to read Dan Price's words:

"Choosing where you would really like to live and finding your true home seem to be of paramount importance, and not choosing just because you happen to have a job there. It needs to be the place on earth that fulfills your needs and desires in many ways. That one place on earth that you feel connected to. A place you could spend the rest of your life."

"Yet in these fast paced times I often wonder how many people take a gamble and move to a new place just because it makes their heart sing."

I feel a little vulnerable putting this here. We're stepping out with no guarantees. But taking risks can make you feel alive. And we do have a plan. We think it will work. So we're trying it.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

another sunset

i miss most sunrises and we have a limited view of sunsets from our apartment. so being by the water, it is very special to enjoy the quiet progression of color and movement and darkness. this is from a recent trip to the beach.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


tiny, soft, hurrying and clustering together. little irresistible balls of fluff. so adorable, and i could just feel one in my hand, even though i don't dare touch one. their soft cheeps as they paddle their two little feet in the water. soft little bills search for goodies in the sand. we saw mommie and her nine babies again today. i was enchanted, and relieved. one time we counted only eight, and felt so sad.

the truth i'd rather spare you is that two male ducks were attacking the little group. they charged the mother several times, and once even chased and nipped at a small baby. why?? i can't understand. but nobody was hurt and after mother hissed and charged back, they retreated.

Friday, June 05, 2009

corn gripping and rooting down into soil.