"Late one night I was grinding coffee and listening to a radio show. There was nothing particularly interesting about this. Most nights I get the percolator ready for the next morning, and the radio is almost always on in the kitchen. But that night I realized something mildly profound: A hundred tiny efforts and decisions had converged right there on the countertop.
The radio was crank-powered, and the coffee grinder was an old hand-turner I had picked up at an antique store. I was standing in the glow of my solar-powered lamp with the aid of some beeswax candles. Suddenly, I realized that nothing I was doing required any outside electricity. I was seeing in the dark, grinding locally roasted beans and listening to renewable energy driven entertainment. As mundane as the situation was, it felt perfect."
That is a quote from an article written by jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm. As I have said before here, I am a fan of her writing. And I can't wait for the day that I can say something similar from my kicthen. Or living room. Or bathroom. Or any room for that matter.
In all our efforts to be more self sufficient, we have still yet to master the art of turning things off. I can sit here now on the couch and see at least 10 things that are "ON".
The cable receiver, the clock, the lamp, this laptop, the electric candles I have the windows for the holidays, the lights on the outside bushes, the pelet stove, the ceramic Christmas tree on top of the piano, Roy's Wii on standby, and the little ceramic light-up house decoration that sits on top of the tv, covered in ceramic snow, windows blazing, looking all cozy and inviting. Did I get all 10?
Just writing it all down, I can see what a waste it is. Even witht he solar panels in the side field.
Granted, I love my laptop. And I really like decorating for the holidays and for me that requires a candle in every window and the bushes lit up with LED lights. And I never miss a good episode of NCIS. But I can't help but wonder if it is necessary.
I have gone around the house on occasion and turned everything off. I know that clocks on vcr's can't be turned off, but I turned off everythng I could. And the hosue was quiet. Even with 3 cats, 1 dog and a nine-month old baby boy, it was scary-quiet.
And I really, really liked it. So much so that I dreaded turning things back on.
I would love to have a life of quiet.
But I love tv and laptops and reliable light.
So, I am off to find my happy medium. I will keep the laptop powered up and I will still veg out in front of the tv when he the baby is taking his naps. But after Christmas (I can't give up my decoration lights just yet), I will make a concious effort to be a little more quiet and efficient. A real, hard-thought effort.
Becasue I want to be able to say that I stood in my kitchen doing mundane things and it felt totally perfect.