Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
I have been a faithful reader of MOTHER EARTH NEWS since it first was published in 1970. The very first edition I read was in newspaper form unlike the beautiful glossy magazine that is published now. I can remember going by the magazine rack in a store while I was getting some walking exercise from my desk on a lunch break and picking up a copy thinking it looked interesting. After getting the copy back to my office started reading and I was hooked for good. Since that early edition, the publication has changed considerably but the underlying subject matter as a guide to living wisely has remained the same. It is still strongly contributor oriented.
Congested Living vs. Simple Living
From that first edition of MOTHER EARTH NEWS which I read from front to back I have discovered that those who gravitate to the magazine are a special breed of people. People who like to do things for themselves, are conscious of the environment, desirous of keeping things simple and living wisely. Those who live in a chrome/glass world and drive upscale vehicles may not be as interested in the magazine but I have learned never to rule anything out and I’m sure there is still hope for those people too. I’m also sure there are those who are stuck in bumper to bumper commutes to work each day that dream or long for a less complicated lifestyle. I remember during my one hour commute to work each day how I would smell the exhaust fumes while I crept along with what seemed a never ending string of traffic. I would dream of a less complicated life where I could be in the country or the mountains with fresh air, pure water, less stress and living closer to the earth and nature.
I have always been a conservationist and reading MOTHER EARTH NEWS helped me to realize that there were many like myself and provided me the desire to one day make a life change from the stressful situation I found myself in. Living a simple life in harmony with the environment and trying to leave our little piece of homestead as natural as possible to what it was when we carved out our home initially and sustaining its suitability for others who may come in the future has been our goal. A conservationist is someone who preserves, guards, protects and exercises wise use of the environment and wild life.
A Single Thought Was Born
It was those many years ago when I picked up that initial edition of MOTHER EARTH NEWS that a thought was born that someday I could live like what the contributors were writing about. A wiser, more simple life without all the stress and conflict of the corporate world. That initial thought was nurtured over the years with each copy of MOTHER EARTH NEWS I read until it became a serious desire and goal. Then as I finally neared retirement age it became more of an obsession to redirect my life. So here I sit typing this on my laptop living the dream that I wasn’t sure would ever happen but finally did became a reality. I can envision someone today picking up their first copy of MOTHER EARTH NEWS and as they read the magazine hatching a thought of one day living a less complicated life too.
When I look around our mountain homestead I now realize that reading all those publications over the years has enabled me to employ many of the things learned that have now made our life better. Making it far better to experience living wisely without the repetitive unexpected surprise events that can challenge a person. Questions I would not have contemplated were answered before the need ever arose by reading Mother Earth News all those years. Reading comments to the editor in each edition reveals to me that others are still making that lifestyle change or planning to. I believe many others have ventured into a new life style over the past 40 years due to the existence of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
While I do not consider myself an expert on living wisely, I now enjoy writing about our life here on the mountain and telling about all the hard work involved. How living in close proximity to wild animals - some that would paralyze people with fear - is actually very normal and they make respectful and excellent neighbors. How every morning as I step outside I take a breath of fresh air that has natural odors and not vehicle exhaust or other neighborhood smells. How pleasant it is to draw a glass of crystal clear water from our well that is cold and refreshing. These and many more things all contribute to our enjoyable lifestyle and it started many years ago when I picked up that first copy of MOTHER. A dream was hatched that day and I suspect that many more dreams have also hatched for others over the years.
Keep It Simple
When I contribute an article to MOTHER, I try to follow the formula from long ago by other contributors and keep it factual, straight forward and informative. This particular article is more for my benefit than other readers as I need to keep reminding myself how all this actually came together for me. I hope I never take our lifestyle for granted or lose its unique benefits. Maybe then I can impart something that will in some small way benefit others in their dream to live a simple more healthy life.
When you pick up a copy of MOTHER EARTH NEWS you don’t know what it may actually inspire in you. A single thought of living life more wisely, simply and efficiently may actually grow into something that will one day redirect your life. I can clearly track my desire back to 1970 when I picked up that first issue of Mother Earth News. I have found over the years that there is something in each issue that I can benefit from. I think it can be fairly stated that Mother Earth News changes lives. I’m sure glad I picked up that first issue.
For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and mountain living go to: www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com/