Spring is often a bumpy ride in Nova Scotia. The weather can fluctuate wildly. In my thin-walled shelter, at 27°C and sunny, I shuck most of my clothes and sweat at my desk, while at 11°C and rainy, I sit here huddled by my small electric space heater and try to focus on work as well as I can.
And some days, like today, I experience both of those extremes within a few hours of one another!
Work seems to be the common thread through everything for me these days – whatever the weather. I have a lot of desk-work on the go, which is a blessing, since I am doing everything I can to gather up money to build a cabin here in the fall.
Also, living here entails work. For one thing, I have the added responsibilities of my garden: planting, weeding, watering. And since I don't have running water or a fridge, it is work to try to keep things clean – or at least sanitary enough to prevent food-borne illnesses. The ice packs from my little chest freezer need to be swapped in and out of the cooler on a regular basis; washing the dishes is a major production that involves boiling the kettle several times.
I try to keep things as simple as I can – with one-pan meals made in my cast-iron frying pan, which can often be wiped clean without needing to be washed per se. To be honest, I often eat my meals right out of the frying pan, too. Saves on washing plates.
And then, there are the nightly sweeps for ticks: more efficient and faster now that I've figured out that I can run my bug-zapper racquet through my bedding before I go to sleep.
Admittedly, this life is not always comfortable. There are times when I desperately need to wash and it's too cold (or I'm feeling too lazy) to boil the kettle and sponge myself down. Or when my hair is beyond needing a lick and a promise and needs a good hearty scrub. Fortunately, I have friends and family who are always ready to offer showers – and also refuge on the coldest nights.
It amuses me when I think of what my life was like 10 years ago – the air conditioning, the long soaks in the tub, the consumption of clothing, housewares, appliances, and on and on. I mean, I used to think nothing of buying things like a Cuisinart ice cream maker!
My former life feels so wasteful and empty to me now. And silly. And meaningless. And thoughtless. Just a typical white middle-class kid doing what she thought she was supposed to do – and having what she felt entitled to have.
While I admit that I am looking forward to having hot and cold running water again eventually, I am currently enjoying the spartan pleasures of this simple life. I am focused on the deep joy of being here. I love the days when I don't have to go anywhere else. There will be many of them this summer. My garden is starting to provide fresh food on a daily basis. My pantry is well-stocked. My guitar and my muse are both here. Ideas are flowing. Feelings are fluid and plentiful. Sleep is deep and long (except when the moon is full). The trees shelter me. Salinger graces me with his fluffy presence. I am safe. I am at home.