I’ve been watching ‘The Last Alaskans’ on Animal Planet (just yesterday and early this morning. I couldn’t sleep and ‘Alaska’ is where I ended up). And while I don’t like the cold AT ALL, I envy their remote, pretty-much off-the-grid lifestyle.
Then I asked myself WHY — why does that appeal to me, to be out there, trying to live off the land and working as hard as they do to sustain their life forces and their way of life?
Shouldn’t I want a huge, comfy mansion with large rooms and all the modern amenities? Doesn’t that make more sense for me to want?
I looked at our life — our family. I even look at our extended family members. I then recognized something about us.
We’re kind of introverted.
Not fully shy — I mean, *I’m* shy, and my aunties on my mother’s side are shy women and so am I, I just swallow my shyness and do or say what needs to be done or said. But hiding myself from the world is something that just comes naturally. I WANT to hide. I don’t want to be SEEN. I want to be left ALONE, for the most part. But the way my personality is set up, I don’t often get to fully be that way. Even back in school, I was a little more popular than I realized. Everybody either knew me or knew OF me. It’s because I was always debating teachers, always standing up to bullies (while my HS bestie ended up being the biggest bully in school).
But the only organization I chose to join in school was the gospel choir, and I led a song ONE TIME, out of the many opportunities. It was known that I could sing because we’d have singing battles at lunch time (girls vs boys and we had singing groups READY, boy, we’d practice and all that and have a crowd of people). But I refused to lead any more songs — I only led that song because the girl who did happened to be sick that ONE time. The director was so mad at me…
So I’m shy.
We don’t know our neighbors and they don’t know us. But my parents were the same way! When we moved over to Red Bird (a middle-class, older neighborhood in Oak Cliff), my parents didn’t go out of their way to meet the neighbors. The neighbors brought us PIES and COBBLERS to say welcome and we all said thanks, but we just stayed to ourselves and only occasionally saw them when we were out tending the yard.
So now, here we are — we’ve lived here nearly a decade! I don’t think these people know our names! They’ve lived here longer than we have. Their children grew up here and now they’re mostly retired. But in the mornings, they are outside, standing around, talking, as they get ready to go about their days. We barely wave, and only talk to them when some craziness happens in the neighborhood (a RARE occurrence). Our children sometimes play with the kids that live waaay up the street (when they’re not fighting them) but they are mostly happy being their own playmates. There’s children NEXT DOOR — and her kids aren’t interested in our kids, and our kids aren’t interested in her kids. They’re about the same age, as well.
We are already in our own world here at this house. We rarely have new friends — all of our functions/parties/events/holy day observances — they’re all ALWAYS with the same people. Never anyone new. The birthday parties for us and our children, if we have them, are already built in because our inner circle is guaranteed to be there, and the outer circle is typically there, too. If we have a BBQ, we just call the usual suspects and each family has 3 children on average, ages 1-16 right now (because WE KEEP HAVING BABIES). We’re a veritable TRIBE in this city. Even THEY don’t have many outside friends.
…we put up a huge wooden fence on the backyard — I think it’s 9-feet tall. When we didn’t have the store, Saturday mornings we’d wake up, make coffee, and head to the back patio with our laptops. The children would wake up, we’d give them breakfast (they’d eat inside) and then they’d be playing in the backyard. We’d stay outside til it got too hot to stay outside, then we’d either go inside and eat, or go take a nap (typically that shabbat nap was next). Studying and discussions would happen outside, free of prying eyes. All houseguests come to love that time here — family members that come to visit from out of town always loved it, our family friend Thompson, who came to stay with us for a while, he loved it and he’d be out there with us, and the sister we courted, she loved it, too, I think. It was a peaceful end to the week. We’d be barefoot…
We are just very cut off from the world. And if we want to, if we turned off the news and the internet — we’d just be with us.
And I LIKE that. So very much.
I only need my husband and my children. (if you are not into eating meat, don’t read the next paragraph. just skip it) We love farm animals…my youngest was just exclaiming yesterday about how he loves goats. We’ve HAD farm animals here in the back before — but we’re not vegetarians, so they’re gone. *ahem* We ate them. Yes, we did. We don’t keep them for longer than a week — a sheep for Passover. A chicken and a goat. All ate up. And the children never got *too* attached. There was never any crying from them, or any fretting. The last time we did it those crazy kids got their lawn chairs and the ipad and filmed their daddy and Thompson ritually slaughter this sheep; Education on Demand — then their father showed them all the important organs and what they do and they were especially happy to find that the bladder was still full SMH.
So we know how to slaughter our own animals. And we’ve had useful gardens maybe twice? My daughter and I are planning to do it on a larger, more official scale next year because husband is in the process of removing this huge, cumbersome tree in the back yard (took the treehouse down, cut off most of the major branches — it has to go it was dangerous to the house in the last storm, plus the neighbor’s tree hangs over our yard significantly, so there’ll still be a bit of shade, and not that direct, North Texas sunlight that can destroy all things).
We are emotionally and physically self sufficient to an extent ALREADY.
All I DREAM about is being LEFT ALONE.
Sure. I love people. I guess. Sociology is a favorite past time of mine. I love to study people and cultures and I love to meet them and eat their food and hear their stories. So I’ll always do that. But when I go back to MY “home” — there are just no cares for the outside world or what anyone else has going on.
This is why when we talk about building communities and communal living, I often imagine us at the end of the village, nearer to the woods. Only coming in for trade and situations that affect the entire community.
On the fringes… and happily so.
Y’all have a good day. I’ve been up on and off since 3am, officially up at 5am and I’ve already cleaned my kitchen, diningroom, and am on here, typing to y’all while I drink my coffee. I’m about to wake up the children for breakfast. I couldn’t sleep. I had a DREAM and I won’t mention the details of the dream but I didnt’ like it and there was so much praying out of me to that dream to The Most High — I haven’t had a dream like that in a while and this is the SECOND ONE THIS WEEK, me just praying and praying and praying out loud to Yah and it having response.