walking up a hill in hawaii with the lush green vistas of kailua before me, i pondered what it would be like to live in paradise. for the week i left behind the grays of winter, the endless inside living and the cold. a move to the islands looked like an invitation to live an inside out sort of life. more wild, less domestication. but as i looked from house to house, i realized how deep domestication has taken root even here.
true story: once upon a time…
people everywhere lived in the villages and towns popping up among the wild places. they built homes, often shared in the work with their neighbors, and maybe cultivated a vegetable garden. at the castle and in the common areas expert gardeners, brick layers and builders were hired to build and maintain elaborate gardens and terraces to be enjoyed an admired by many. but at home, life was still beautiful, though more naturally so.
we are the kings and queens of our own castles, or so we fancy. we each buy for ourselves as much "castle" as we can afford, with our visions of lawns, gardens, design style, and curb appeal. soon we have a list pages long of remodel, renovate, refresh ideas which soon turn into obligations. and a yard work list just as long. none too soon we realise: there is no staff at this castle, no rustic to do the work except ourselves. there are many things we want done but we don't actually want to do it. we have become the tools of our tools, as thoreau says.
what if we lived a life more wild and less domesticated? we could go to the castle (in modern days perhaps this means the capital or a fancy hotel). there would be someones master garden to enjoy. someone’s fine art collection. we could tour a cathedral in the city or an architectural masterpiece, taking in the beauty with awe and wonder, without having to OWN it.
i've been thinking i have ownership issues. why do i always want to own everything? it used to be a form of self expression for me.. "this" is what i'm about. but i'm beginning to think it’s a cultural issue. we have lost the art of appreciation. we have enslaved ourselves to our ideals.
imagine how much pleasure and leisure we could enjoy if we stopped trying to domesticate everything. wildlife outside our doors instead of lawns. simple furnishings, the beauty of worn things, natural lasting beauty. how would we fill our days if there is less to clean, less to upkeep? our time and our finances freed from unnecessary obligations. without the need to stake our claim or hold our ground, would life become more simple?
go ahead...break the norm. who decided we ought to own it all, and keep our homes & yards magazine worthy? that this is a high and worthy value? you know there is more to life! let yourself at it! break free. leave it behind. you could have so much more.