Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cabin Life: Keeping Up With The Joneses

The tea kettle is warming up on the stove so I can have the first of many, many cups of tea today.  There’s cough drop wrappers strewn about the table and all of my handkerchiefs are in the laundry basket.  I hate being sick.

The worst part about this particular cold is that I finally took a day off from work and had to spend it lying on the couch doing nothing.  It was a beautiful day yesterday, with the first real snow of the year settling on the ground.  Being in a snow belt, I got a few more inches than most people and if there was any possibility of being able to breathe through my nose, I would have loved to go out for my first cross-country ski of the year.

But instead, I stayed inside and read, did a little shoveling and basically just drifted in and out of consciousness all day.  It was nice to look out the window at the winter scene that is my yard, though.  The pale blue sky played against the blinding whiteness of six inches of snow.  The sun created sparkles all over, always changing as the trees swayed in the wind.  This is my favorite part of winter.

It was about this time last year that I started writing the Cabin Life series, and believe it or not, this is the fiftieth essay I’ve written about living off the grid in this little cabin.  I’ve talked about the weather and birds, family and depression, difficulties and joys.  The outhouse, Upper Camp and Pico.  I like writing this way, about whatever happens to pop into my mind when I sit down at the computer.  I like that I have to wear a headlamp to write on my laptop.

After over a year, I do not regret moving out here.  I miss hot showers.  And on days like yesterday, it would have been nice to lie around and watch whatever nonsense was on TV.  Other than that, I don’t miss anything I used to have.  I lived in a nice two bedroom townhouse three blocks from the ocean when I left Jacksonville.  I liked being near the beach, but feel that the only thing I really gave up was the stress and endless hours of work necessary to afford that life.  I worked two jobs for five straight years.

I know lots of other people have done this, but I don’t have kids or a mortgage.  I did it to keep up with the Jones’, so to speak.  And after simplifying my life and wants and needs, I realize that I don’t care what the Jones’ are up to.  The best part is that I won’t ever again care what they are up to.

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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

4 Responses

  1. Br. James says:

    Dear Justin,

    Congratulations on your 50th essay. I have been following you from right after the time you began publishing. I am a Christian monk living at my monastery in the Hudson Valley and you are an inspiration. I love your quest for simplicity.Many blessings.

  2. joan streetman says:

    I sure love your attitude about the Joneses. I feel the same way but would love to live like you do but now up in age cannot do that as that would be my favorite way to live. I love the woods, animals and the wilderness. I wish you would make a book so I could buy it . Happy holidays coming up

  3. Brad says:

    I think one of your best postings yet. Very reflective, keep it going please – very much enjoy this w my own cup of tea!

    Sometimes a cold isn’t the worst thing that can happen, makes you slow down and appreciate the good days more.

    Thinking more LEDs would brighten your nights a bit?

  4. Stephanie says:

    Feel better soon. Keep sharing your thoughts and observations on your lifestyle. Those who long for a simpler life might learn a thing or two from you..myself included.