The snow outside changes our days.
Farmers don’t commute, so it doesn’t affect our traffic, but it does mean the chickens stay inside the coop and we can’t put seeds and plants in the ground yet.
The biggest change is internal.
The quiet the snow brings was all but missed this winter. With the quiet of the snow comes the time to read, watch movies, talk and just be quiet. Take a nap. Cook what we grew last year. Share with friends.
When we retired to Sharon Springs, we had no idea we were moving to Brigadoon. Like Lake Wobegone, here the women are strong, the men good-looking, and I can tell you from working at the local school that all the children are above average.
We live in Camelot without a king; a round table of neighbors, not warrior-knights; a place where community is strong and time moves seasonally, not with a Daytimer. We lived that life before and are glad to be away from it.
Here we have learned that everything you need for health and contentment is within reach and given freely by nature.
There is a plant for every illness and nourishment, and a neighbor to help you find it. Here the healing waters are historic, and no health clubs are nearby. We’d have to take time off the daily work schedule to go, and we work harder on the farm than any exercise program ever designed anyway.
Living simply and richly is not difficult if you pay attention.
The daily news speaks of disaster and war, and what will happen “come hell or high water.” Well, they’re already coming to pass.
The films and television shows are about aliens and zombies, and almost seem like reality shows when you look around at the world.
No wonder people seek sanctuary, paradise, a little piece of heaven. We are incited to fear “others” bringing terrorism and change, and then told those fears are inevitable. Little is said about cooperation, much about dominion. Tranquility is used to sell pills and wrinkle cream, not as a goal to be reached by yourself, internally.
How did we come to this?
After the discovery of The New World, books and plays were written about this concept of an ideal place.
Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia” was based on the civilizations found by the Europeans, and William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” took place on an island like Bermuda that was an Eden, a paradise before outsiders came.
Perhaps we carry this vision with us as we live our lives and raise our families. People yearn for peace and justice and a calm life.
My husband has told me none of his patients ever said on their deathbeds that they wished they had spent more time at the office; they all were sorry they didn’t spend their time with families and friends.
A little too late to learn that, but a good lesson for us now.
So the next time the white soft snow piles up, maybe we should make a pot of tea, put another log on the fire, and read a good book or talk to each other.
We can stay in touch with the calamities of the world if we wish, and even get involved in circumventing some of them, if we wish.
Our Brigadoon has Wi-Fi and our Eden has satellite television and Internet.
But if we choose, we can simplify, and renew our hearts with quiet and sanity. Maybe that’s why we’re here.
Karen Cookson lives in Sharon Springs and is a regular contributor to the Sunday Gazette Opinion pages.