Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Winter's Close


In spite of the fact that it snowed here again a few days ago, it is slowly melting, dripping and soaking the ground at this very moment. Spring wants to be here so bad. I can see it in the neighbors dog's coat which is flinging hair into the air, i can see it when i get close to the ground and tiny green things are coming up, so tiny i cant identify which wild plant they will be.... tiny inch worms coming out from under a leaf, then going back into hiding. Frogs croaking a mating call that sounds like women gossiping furiously.... then silence in the cold of the night.
I am ready. Of course, who isnt ready for this long winter to end? I am ready for the sun to tan and mark my skin, to exaggerate every freckle on my face, to give me energy while relaxing my soul.
The winter has been a weary sort of nightmare. I never really thought about it before hand but I suppose it was my first winter living in the woods, sustainable, remote and totally alone. I have been living in the woods over ten years now... most the time i had some partner (ah, boyfriends...i remember those!)... and during those years most of my sustainable living was just in the learning phases, it certainly wasn't this hardcore.
If you have a partner right now, at this very moment, be thankful - even if they suck in some ways... the only reason to not be thankful is if they suck so bad they dont even help ya carry in wood to stay warm. Otherwise, another pair of arms is like.... heaven during the winter!
Can we all do it alone? Probably shouldnt, but anyone half healthy can do it. Can we all stay sane living like this alone? I doubt most can. You might think I stayed sane... but i don't think i really stayed healthy in my mind throughout this semi-off grid winter.
Depression, exasperation, anger, resentment, insane laughter, cursing, frustration ... were all my friends. You could even say they were my partner, since there was a void to fill where no extra helping hand existed. Anger might motivate me to keep pushing through the snow, anger would say "don't stop now, don't let the snow get ya! the snow will not defeat you!", as i pushed up a mile long steep hill carrying so much food on my tiny back I thought i would break, but instead got hypothermia. All the emotions we like to dub as "bad" and "negative" are great motivators. I kept from falling asleep with hypothermia in the the snow by yelling out things into the empty frozen air - things i resented in my life, i released them, and changed them soon as i got home.
Now, snow drips, melts - it tries to wet my last pile of firewood... since the ice ripped off the gutters on the cabin a while back. Wet wood, does not keep you as warm, wet wood is annoying but I will burn it regardless. I have gotten to the point that i can light a great fire with using only one single match to begin with. YAY! i think... that matters? But only if i choose this way of life.
Did a winter of slipping on snow and ice, fainting, cutting my hand, cursing frozen water, cursing a dirty body, and being snowed in away from humans make me not want to live this way? Does it make me want to be back in the city in central heat and TV?

No fucking way!
When the city lights go out and there is no heat, i am still warm and cooking on my wood stove.
To put it crudely.... ya know how people say "once you go black you never go back"...
well, its kinda like that, but with nature.



Teresa Evangeline said...

You made it through! I know it's tough, so tough to go it alone sometimes, and very tough to admit. I'm glad that you can. On both counts. It makes my own whining about going it alone seem okay. You've chosen a good path in life, one to be proud of and it will sustain you always. I look forward to reading about your spring and summer, too, with all the good that is unfolding.

Keep on dancing.

Gratuitous said...

In defense of "city living," I know of many people who don't own a tv and choose to burn wood (I sometimes wonder where the hell it all comes from) for heat. And when the power went out last winter (for all of 12 hours), I bought a little propane heater and enclosed myself in my bedroom with it and read by candlelight. It wasn't exactly a Zombie Apocalypse, true, but I did get a chance to question my levels of dependence/independence.

Humans, by nature, are gregarious. The principles of cooperation are what defines us; it evolved us into being a Terran species that - for good or/and bad - no longer has to react to our environment. Rather we manipulate it. Compared to our fellow animals that are driven by instinct alone, we have such great power! 6 billion of us on the planet and counting (exponentially). And yet any one of us can leave a profound or lasting effect on everything else.

You toughed it out, girl, crawled through the tunnel (um, snowstorms happen around here in March... just sayin'). Mad props. But you freakin' need to not be so alone, dammit! Of course you could survive; you're the baddest-assed chick I've ever known, but it's not just about survival, it's about quality of life! I'm not saying you need to shack up with some dude. I'm saying you need some company, some help, some cooperation. Say the word, and I'll dig up my old "hippie" (meant affectionately) contacts, the ones who love being close to nature. You're not the only one I know of that desires a step back to the way we should have been. But you are the only one I know of that's been so alone in the process.

I hate to do this, but I just thought of the Streisand song, "People." But that's my message, Dryad. People need people.

Leslie's Gone Oko said...

i know...
snow in march, april and up until may 1st usually!


and I agree, people need people. I am working on it. lol

Oldfool said...

You are not alone. There are lots of us.
I am fortunate to not be alone in my old age and I am with a competent capable women. You dance like she does. Keep at it someone is looking for you and if they don't find you you will do well anyway.

kirk said...

If ya ever take a roadtrip you have a place to stay in North Idaho--

Carol said...

That is an excellent photo, Leslie!