I recently bought myself a chainsaw. It’s only a ten inch and so I won’t get much done with it, I guess. I’m scared of chainsaws and never have even used one, but all the people on the television shows I watch about people who are living the sort of life I dream of living have at least one thing in common. And that thing is a chainsaw. It seems like chainsaws can get you out of all sorts of messes.
A tree across the road? Break out your chainsaw. You need some lumber to build a fence or a shed or a barn or a house? Well just head out in the woods and crank up the old chainsaw.
I added to the list of things I need a lumber mill, but I guess we will see how the battery powered ten inch chainsaw goes first.
I get periodically upset that I don’t know how to do anything that I find particularly important. I can write a story. I can take an okay photograph. I can decorate my house and I can grow an old maid. There are probably other things. But the things I do not know how to do equal a far greater number.
I mean, important things like starting a fire without a match or killing and processing my own food.
Probably a lot of you laugh when you read this. I know my parents are rolling their eyes and thinking how silly I am. But I am quite serious.
I think it’s a shame that a lot of people today do not feel drawn out into nature. I live here in what everybody would consider out in the country. But there is a road directly in front of my house. I depend on other people for electricity and water when I want to do depend on nothing but myself and the earth. I depend on other people for food and for money.
The feeling of lifelong dependence on other people sometimes feels like a burden and I have always had a natural call to run into the woods and figure it all out for myself. What’s more is that I am afraid my children will never learn to do anything besides punch keys on a computer if I don’t learn and teach them myself.
I’m reading a book about Eustace Conway, who we watch on the show Mountain Men. Until I saw an episode where he talked about how he made a canoe and rode it down the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Louisiana and then hiked the entire Appalachian Trail on a whim, I sort of thought he was silly. But then I realized here is someone who has lived out all of the dreams I dream when I’m sick of this day to day existence. The book is called “The Last American Man” and it is written by Elizabeth Gilbert.
Here is the quote, taken from pages 18-19, that has me upset with myself for never learning anything.
First he explains that nature is circular. Then says, “The ancient people understood that our world is a circle, but we modern people have lost sight of that … Do people live in circles today? No. They live in boxes. They wake up every morning in the box of their bedroom because a box next to them started making beeping noises to tell them it was time to get up.
They eat their breakfast out of a box and then they throw that box away into another box. Then they leave the box where they live and get into a box with wheels and drive to work, which is just another big box broken up into lots of little cubicle boxes where a bunch of people spend their days sitting and staring at the computer boxes in front of them.
When the day is over, everyone gets into the box with wheels again and goes home to their house boxes and spends the evening staring at the television boxes for entertainment. They get their music from a box, they get their food from a box, they keep their clothes in a box, they live their lives in a box! … Break out of the box. You don’t have to live like this because people tell you it’s the only way. You’re not handcuffed to your culture. This is not the way humanity lived for thousands and thousands of years, and it is not the only way you can live today.”
Danielle Wallingsford Kirkland is a former Sentinel staff writer and correspondent. She can be reached at email@example.com.