We hold out for the hope of something yet unknown. Or we stumble upon it and remember what is possible. It is like the unexpected surprise of the every-time glory of fire flies in a field. Or the way the sun sets casting light through a window. These are the gifts of life that we cannot originate. We can only put ourselves in the way of them. It is my treatise that homesteading is a similar act filled with similar gifts (and of course challenges, but there are already enough reasons not to do it – it is time to write for the reasons to do it). It is my knowledge that the act of homesteading, apart from being filled with many nameable gifts, will also be filled with many unexpected surprises that can only be known by immersing oneself fully in it.
Listening to an interview with Lynx the re-wilder the other day she says, and I have certainly felt this too, that when taking a wilderness trip you must give yourself a month to get a week of purity. That is, two weeks in the beginning spent immersing and letting go of whatever you carried into the wild, one week actually being present, and the last week spent on the anxiety of return to the past life. From the surface, it looks like a month in the wilderness, yet once lived, how much of it actually feels like time in the wilderness?
All along the way, there is only so much one can plan and know. There is only so much we can envision. Then we must simply put ourselves in the way of it. Then there is the unexpected surprise of life that we put ourselves in the way of. A starry night with shooting stars. Priceless. A home without the buzz of electricity. Deeply soothing. A forest walk finding a myriad of natural treasures. The meat of life.
I just finished watching Man on Wire, a documentary film about a French man who walked across a tight wire between the world trade center towers in 1974. He encourages to live life on the edge, never repeating, never living from the past, but on the edge, as an act of artistic expression in itself in the moment. It takes such a leap to homestead, also.