Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Thousand Faces of the Day

This morning I got up at 5 and lit the wood stove. It feels vaguely remenisent of camping. Although it is charming and the heat has a lovely dry quality I have mixed feelings about the stove. Almost everyone on the islands has a wood stove which comes in handy during the power outages that are part of winter here. Trees, wind, rain, not too surprising. A recipe for firewood.

The stove is pretty much standard in island homes and is used either has a primary or secondary heat source. But doesn't the use of wood contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer? It feels like a guilty pleasure as I take the chill off the morning. Is electric heat any more or less environmentally friendly? I know a lot of the wood used in the stoves is windfall or scrub so islanders are not wacking down forests of doug fir for our heating pleasure. But I am thinking about the smoke wafting its way skyward.

The radishes we planted last week are poking their cute little green heads up and the lettuce transplants are enjoying the rain that has been falling for the last few days. We have been feasting on what's left of the winter veggies in the garden, enjoying the 20 ft diet. Just outside our door is kale, cauliflower, parsley, purple sprouting broccoli, cilantro and onions for our dining pleasure. The asparagus are still only poking their heads up just a little. We have planted more food and watch anxiously for its debut.

We are living without TV here. It used to be a big fall back for me in the evening. If I was tired or lonely the TV was easy company. I love the home & garden design shows, a personal addiction. But there was a vaguely unsatisfying element to it, kind of like eating junk food; tastes good, feels bad. Instead of me consuming the junk food, my evenings were consumed by the glow of the TV screen. I'm doing the cold turkey here. At first I was so tired that I'd fall asleep on the couch cradling a book. I have also noticed that as I sit and watch the darkening landscape a feeling of melancholy, of antstyness settles on me. Some of the feeling I avoided in my TV watching? Is it universally human to feel a bit dark as the earth darkens or is it peculiar to my particular karmic package? I notice this feeling as the light dims and then when the dark sets and I can no longer see the landscape, my mood shifts. If I had no electricity I'd probably head off to bed. But I'm not that back to nature yet.

So we are living here a little closer to the earth, closer to the rhythm of the day, more connected to the outdoors. I get to watch the thousand faces of the day, how the clouds change and the fog and rain move in and out, how it can be blue skied at 6 am and raining by noon. A front row seat for the impermanence show. The shifting moving nature of the weather and how it affects landscape and moods is ever apparent. And out the picture window it looks like a Tony Onley painting. I don't think anyone has captured this coastal landscape in the brilliant way he did, ethereal and dreamy and yet true to form.


  1. Ah you pioneering woman you!

    I have this romanticized view of the life you're living now: closer to the rhythms of the day, connected with nature, and watching the "thousand faces of the day" - love that! But then I think, would I *really* be able to live this way!? I'd be waiting for the bears and mountain lions to show up :) So my "green with envy" face is getting some color back as I accept life as it is - here. :)

    I am an evening TV watcher too. Although I do manage evenings without it. The antsy restlessness creeps in for me as well, and the need to *consume*. I'm assuming because the mind no longer has the activities of the day as diversion, and maybe not being comfortable with my inner face. Evening is really like another transition isn't it, another face - leaving the external rhythms and finding the entry to the internal rhythms - allowing the passage through the unsettled feelings. Which I don't navigate well myself!

    I love your view. Reminds me of a large lake our family used to vacation on when I was a child. Sweet melancholy.

  2. It's been my pleasure following your odyesey through the southwest, past Harmony and now settling in on your island. I too spend time in front of the TV in the evening...too tired for other activities and ever so often finding a jewel of a show...rare. I thank you and will try another way to meet nightfall.

  3. When we moved to rural eastern Washington, five years ago, we deliberately left behind TV and some other "comforts". Like all comforts they were just habits, other ones replace them... through more thoughtful choices though.
    It took us two years to quit taking pictures of the roads we had to drive every few day just to get "to town". Somewhat sadly, they are no longer scenery, just a nice drive.
    I think the same thing happens in Buddhist training. We drop habits, we develop others, (mostly deliberately), and we get used to the scenery and accept it as the world we now live in.
    Thanks for the nice post.

  4. Hi ZDS!

    Marcus here - I have been following your move (and how beautiful it all sounds!) but have been doing a lot less commenting on blogs recently. Sorry.

    As you might have noticed I deleted mine (perhaps you'd like to update your blogroll?) and have moved on to a new project - a group blog with my little gang of Dharma Brothers! LOL!

    Anyway, thanks again for NOT deleting your blog! I trust you never will! And what a picture! You sit in one of those chairs in the morning?! Wonderful! You'll soon be wondering what on earth you ever needed a TV for! LOL!

    All the very best and thank you for writing,



  5. MeAnderi I too would be afraid of large fur bearing animals but to the best of my knowledge none reside here, well maybe a bear or two but I'm not sure. And it's interesting how we romanticize the lives of others. I do this all the time, thinking that everyone's life is perfect but mine! And then I remind my self of how silly this is.

    And interesting to hear their are other creative types(Blue Sky & MeAnderi) out there that have similar TV issues. This was such a good opportunity for me to give it up. Almost as if it chose me, rather than I chose it!

    And Marcus! So good to hear from you. I have kept your blog on the bar and check it every now and then partly out of sloth but partly out of hope that you will start writing again. Popped in to your new blog for a wee peek and will now put it up as a link and sit down for a good read tonight! Thanks as always for your kind words. That Quan Yin Stamp traveled with me and is now waiting in my studio for me to do something with!

  6. I love our woodstove. This year we had to "upgrade" to an environmentally approved one. This one burns tight and complete so the impact on the ozone is a lot less. Certainly less than the oil furnace! And I love the feel of the heat - and how it makes the bread rise smoother! Yum!

    I can't give up my TV yet so I'll let you and MeAnderi collect the merit for me. :-)

    Love that view - sooooo jealous of your access to water... REALLY loving your posts since you moved. It's inspiring me and helps a lot with my "Argh! I have nothing more to say" blues.