Looking Back at Our Move to the Country

Reader Contribution by Cam Mather

Michelle’s Note: The following is an article
that Cam wrote for a local newspaper about 13 years ago as we were
preparing for our move to Sunflower Farm. The comments that Cam made are
as appropriate today as they were back then. I thought you might enjoy
reading about Cam’s reasons for wanting to leave the city….

Pursuing a Labour of Love

I’ve
grown weary of the city so I’m moving to the country. This is not a
revelation and people have been doing it for eons, but I must wonder if
their reasons are consistent with mine.

I’ve grown tired of people
obsessed with huge vehicles whose size increases outrageously as their
abysmal fuel economy decreases. These same people risk my safety and the
safety of others by running red lights because of the stress created by
the work required to purchase such beasts. This culture measures a
person’s success by the level of their consumption and going to a mall
is the most popular pastime.

So our family has taken our
two-bedroom bungalow on a small lot in the city and turned it into 150
acres in Eastern Ontario with a century-old farmhouse, a guesthouse and a
horse barn. Our new home has no hydro lines to it, but it has lights
and other conveniences powered by its solar panels. It has a wind
generator to complement the solar power in months like November when
there’s a lot of wind and less sunlight. So we’ll never have another
Hydro bill and we’ll no longer contribute to the gases that are heating
up our atmosphere created by power plants burning fossil fuels.

As
an Ontario taxpayer I will be saddled with my share of the massive debt
created by my utility’s poorly planned megaproject mentality, but when I
hear of towns fighting to keep nuclear waste from being stored in their
communities, I’ll no longer be contributing to its generation.

I’ve
decided to stop living in fear. I’m going to stop worrying about how
much money is in my RRSP, regardless of how much the mutual fund
companies try to persuade me what I need. I’m going to stop worrying
about my future and start enjoying my here and now. At 40, too many of
my friends have died from awful diseases, and I know at the end, none of
them were concerned about their bank accounts. I’ve seen too many
people retire after living a life based on their employment unable to
relax and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

I’m trading in my
ambition for a garden hoe and I’m going to grow the food on my table.
I’m going to walk out my back door into my forest rather than lining up
with hundreds of other cars to pay for a walk in the woods at my local
conservation authority.

I’m going to stop thinking that I can only
enjoy time off during the two weeks in the summer where I find that a
culture saturated with beer commercials can only seek pleasure in noisy
jet skis and a basic level of hooliganism that now even ruins Algonquin
Park canoe trips.

I’m trading in the air that I watch from a perch
on the escarpment turn increasingly brown as the week progresses, for
clean air with thousands of acres of forests acting as lungs around my
home.

I’m trading in the constant and ever increasing noise that
bombards me in the city for the call of the whippoorwills and the howl
of the coyotes.

I will experience the subtle changing of seasons
from my front porch and my forest, rather than from the flyers in my
newspaper telling me what I should be purchasing for the current time of
the year.

Of course I’m not naive to think this will be without
its costs. There will be no trips to exotic lands, no “micro vacations.”
There will be no money for a sports car to ward off my mid-life crisis
at 50, or weekend junkets to Las Vegas. But this I can handle. Eating
strawberries from the plants in my garden will be a reasonable
substitute. And I’ll take a day of working manure into my soil over a
weekend at the spa any day.

I’ll still work for pay but only enough to live. I’m going to stop saving for the future at the expense of enjoying today.

My
children will have to fund their own post-secondary education and I
hope some day they will understand why I made this decision. But when I
became a parent I don’t remember trading in my dreams to fund my
children’s ambitions. I’ll do what I can, but in a world where the
amount of information doubles every five years, how relevant is static
knowledge? I hope my children will share my love of learning that will
help me to run our solar house and learn how deep to plant my asparagus.
As long as they have the desire to acquire information and the tools to
find it, I think my kids will be all right.

I have been blessed
to live in a wonderful country and I’m going to start taking the time to
enjoy it. I hope the advertisers don’t mind me dropping out. If the
bumper sticker that says “The person with the most toys wins”
is true, then I’m destined to lose. But if finally learning how to relax
and stop dreading Sunday nights like a trip to the dentist is the goal,
I think I’m on track. If my work boots are comfortable and my fruit
trees are healthy, all will be well.

* * * * * * *

Cam has written two books since moving to his country home; “Thriving During Challenging Times” and “The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook.” For more information about Cam or his books, please visit www.cammather.com or www.aztext.com