I use to be that girl in the coffee shop or bar, speaking loud enough for everyone to hear. I preached recycling, using alternative energy, and living a different kind of life. I use to rage against the machine while acting as a gear in it. I read revolutionary and environmental texts. I did my part to recycle and reuse, but I lived like most Americans. Life was easy, but it wasn't the life I wanted to live.
So I decided to change my life. I bought 15 acres in the Ozark wilderness. Now I live a very different life. I not only recycle but my home uses only solar power, my water comes from the ground and returns to the earth once I'm finished lightly using it. I compost my food and human waste. A wood stove is our only source of heat. The yard is turning into a garden and I still hope to obtain goats and chickens soon. This is the life I use to talk about. The simple life. But it is not so simple.
Owning your home is ideal, but when there is no landlord, everything that breaks is your problem. When the water heater doesn't work, you take a cold shower or fix the problem with time, energy, and money. Out here it seems that everything breaks in time. On cold winter nights the pipes often freeze, the living room stays around only fifty degrees, and snow falls, trapping us at home. On hot summer days the ants attack the kitchen, ticks lurk in the weeds, and the heat pulls moisture from the skin. When the sun hides behind thick clouds, the electricity is depleted to nothing. The garden struggles and I strive to understand how things grow and die. Between bugs, droughts, floods, sun, and clouds, I have yet to produce heaping baskets of vegetables. The battle is ongoing.
All year, we get lonely out here. Desperately, we drive sixty miles into town, spewing carbon and toxins from the tail pipe. The lonely feeling could be resolved without the use of an engine if we weren't so secluded. If more people lived out here; if more people would seek the simple life, knowing it is not so simple.
- Roslyn Imrie
- I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.