One thing I’d like to achieve this year is to finally digest the classic thought bender that is Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
I’ve been trying to finish it for a few years now. It’s not an easy read like a fictional novel, it’s the kind of literature you pick up every so often and read for some inspiration on how to improve yourself. I find that I don’t agree with everything that Thoreau wrote, but there are so many amazing bits that get to me and inevitably receive the highlighter treatment so I can find them easily when I next pick up the book. One thing we (Thoreau) can both agree on is the approach to a particular lifestyle. I love being independent, I like to be forthright and living by my values, as much as they may seem irrational to most people and by my actions I may seem slightly odd to some people. I am a total believer in simplifying as much as possible in life.
I know it might be a stretch attempting to marry 1840’s philosophy with growing my own tomatoes and eating them sliced on toast for breakfast but stick with me a little longer. Here is a quote from Walden that conjures up some ideas that I try to live by.
“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.”
Nothing can be more truthful and honest than having a relationship with the soil, the elements and an appreciation of living organisms. To enjoy the simple pleasure of planting a seed that will grow into a plant that will eventually fruit and provide nourishment, not only for our biological systems but more importantly for our hearts and our souls.
The more I explore this ‘primitive’ lifestyle the happier and more content I become. The less I care about things that I used to think so important, that I am now convinced are based on ‘purely illusory foundations’.
The only problem I have is I look at the world of ‘normality’ and shudder. I have mixed feelings of fear and anger. Fear that we (modern western society) are heading in a downward spiral of unquenchable greed and materialistic acquisition, and I’m angry because I often feel like my hands are tied and I can’t do anything to halt it. With all the environmental and economical woes, our governments still believe our saviour is economic growth regardless of consequence. When in reality we need to slow down in order to preserve what little of the wild and real world we have remaining.
So this is how I think when I look at my tomatoes on toast with fresh basil and goats cheese.
Unfortunately there is no off switch for this mind of mine.