Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ants, grasshoppers and an independent life

Perhaps I'm just taking an entomological metaphor too far. That could happen to anybody. But it seems to me that there are roughly two ways to live independently and sustainably.
There's the approach of the ant: Farm, farm, farm, dig, dig, dig, work, work, work. If you have animals or people who depend on you, this is what happens to you, whether you grow your own food or not.
Then there's the grasshopper approach. Set up a yurt on someone elses land, work just enough to scrape by, hang out at the library, play the fiddle. Go to bed when it gets dark, play outside when the sun shines.
Personally, I can never decide if I want to be an ant or a grasshopper. My head is full of expansionist megalomania. Chicken coops! A sauna! Wind generators! Solar powered welding! But it might be argued that this is just another way of consuming, of spending resources. Also, I want to just reach ultimate mellowness, which conflicts with all my harebrained schemes.
So I end up working full time on my day job because I need money to make my ideas come to life. And I try to appear normal to the outside world, which involves changing clothes constantly and participating in all kinds of activities outside my home. And I end up feeling both pressed for time, and unsatisfied at my progress in creating the kind of little homestead I would want.
If I was completely insanely devoted to one approach or the other, this would not be an issue.
Fanatics have it easy.


Diane from CA said...

I know where you are coming from...been there & done that. Plus I lean more to the grasshopper lifestyle...BUT haven't gotten there YET!
Enjoy your blog very much...thank you for your words!

Northmark said...

We will get there.