Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
We are lucky: it is easy to be at peace with a peaceful world. Our home along the river is certainly that – a bastion of steadiness, sense, quietude, and natural rhythms; a world without gadgets, where the pace is determined by the seasons and pressures defined only by our needs for survival and well-being.
Yet many days each week, Ryan and I each make our way into the mayhem of the outside world. The distractions, the noise, the clutter, the busyness; the tragedy, the politics, the news and the entertainment – indistinguishable, they often seem. It is a world increasingly ruled by polemics, while those most involved and most affected rarely emerge empowered, but rather disenfranchised. We choose to accept certain of the proverbial “real world’s” terms as it is called, as we work to meet our financial needs. We don’t deny that, however we may strive to live, we remain part and parcel of a global economic system.
And yet, there are alternatives. And that’s what we’re building with our lifestyle: a quiet, sane, measured, balanced, beautiful, colorful, alive center to our lives. We may have no electric power, no technology, no plumbing, no fossil-fuel heat, no easy access, and no large house that has to be filled. But, we also have no hub-bub to distract us from basic values. And so we are able to value physical labor versus economic work, creativity versus entertainment, beauty rather than media, bird songs versus ring tones, the roar of the river versus the whir of gadgetry, conversation versus channels, reflection versus reaction.
Sometimes we wonder how others live at the pace and demands of the outside world. At Coösauke, balance and reflection are the texture of life. We can reset, recalibrate, remember the choices we have, the love we hold, the life we want. The cabin may be 16’ x 14’, but there’s ample space for ourselves and our thoughts, to cultivate our dreams, consider our fears, and celebrate our joys.
But yes, it also means that sometimes it’s cold, while sometimes it’s hot. There’s always wood to be cut and split, and water to be fetched. Any commute must incorporate the walk out. The reality of fire – and the difficulty in redressing a catastrophe - is constantly accounted for. And to successfully thrive in both our world and the outside world, thorough communication, planning, and reliability are characteristics that cannot be negotiated.
Ultimately, we have found it easier to maintain optimism regarding the outside world when recognizing our own steps towards the creation of something different in our own lives. As such, we are working together to nurture a life that stewards our values and our perspective. We recognize that this may not be the answer, for some or for all…but it is our answer. And we sure do enjoy ourselves! Somehow it seems right, that by doing well within our niche along the river, we enable ourselves to offer the outside world a little more joy and a little more beauty.