I could really get used this.
Living on this island, I mean.
After all, I am a born island child myself. I don’t think I could make it through a cold Maine winter, but I could definitely make it all summer. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no Survivor, roughin’ kind of girl. Island life isn’t about making it in the wild; it’s about living a simple life. For some, this life may seem too inconvenient or like too much work, but I find it all to be very freeing. The simple things in life make me slow down, reflect more, take more time:
- Washing dishes by hand is actually relaxing, and somehow feels like a celebration and appreciation of the meal we just had.
- Walking everywhere – and everyone else walking, too – promotes community as I stop to pet a dog and meet a visitor or chat with a neighbor along the way. At home, I’m too busy driving off to the next stop in my protected little bubble on wheels. And the fresh air and exercise makes you feel healthy and alive.
- Having to get on a boat to go to a store reduces the temptation to buy extra stuff. For one, the opportunities are more limited. And secondly, you have to be willing to haul it across the island to your house!
- And speaking of extra stuff, my mom’s cabin is small. There’s just no room for a bunch of extraneous, unnecessary things. Everything has a place, and keeping the place tidy is fairly easy (and pleasing). I commented to my mom last night that it almost seems simpler to start out that way. Back home, my house is brimming with what-if-I-need-this-one-days and but-I-want-its that sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about weeding it all out. And it’s harder to purge when you have the space to keep it if you want.
- Seeing the vast and mighty ocean, the beautiful mountains, even being closer to nature (we’ve watched seagulls pulling crabs out of the ocean to eat), I appreciate God as Creator. I even feel more creative as a result.
- Reducing my footprint on Earth is easier. The gulls eat all of the meat and fat products. I can compost all of the rest of our food (I have grand designs of planting a garden next time). If we use cloth towels and napkins and real dishes, recycle other paper, plastic and metal, then our garbage is minimal. I even found great satisfaction in hanging our clothes on a line to dry in the sun. I’ve been wanting a line at home for some time; I think I’m going to do it.
- Cooking is a creative outlet for me. Not that it isn’t at home, but here I have limited items in the kitchen. I can’t run to the store to buy a forgotten item. Just last night, I had to figure out how to stretch some leftover ground beef between the three of us. I made homemade tortillas (much better than the last time I made them!), stretched the beef with some tomatoes and seasoning, and even pulled together a tasty cake with what started as fruit salad. I was in my creative element!
- I haven’t even tired of caring for my daughter by 5pm because we are constantly exploring or creating and just enjoying one another. (Fresh air and sunlight helps that too, I think.) And I love the fact that when she is older I can turn her loose on the island and not fear for her safety. Plus, if she gets into trouble, I’ll hear about it from someone before she even gets home. Sounds like the good ole days, huh?
The real challenge now is how to carry some of this home. I feel like we already strive toward many of these things that occur “naturally” on the island. Now I feel ready to be more aggressive in cleaning out our stuff and living more simply. Taking a little more time on small things and enjoying both the labor and the outcome.
Maybe I’ll call it Island Living. (Island Living: Bringing the Island Home . . . hmm, book title? )
Wanna live like Islanders? What are your thoughts on how to do it?