When we moved into our lodge, we had a big “tipi warming party.” The campfire was blazing and tents were being set up all over the pasture. A whole town full of friends celebrated with us, into the wee hours of the morning. Mostly because they like an excuse to drink beer, but also because they love us, and find it fascinating that we’ve made the choice to live like “this.”
But, not everyone loves the tipi. Most like the “idea,” but not the reality. I hear a lot of people say, “Oh, that’s cool…but I could never live like that.”
Well, that’s fine. I’m not asking you to. Why the need to explain? I’m not asking you to give up your cell phone for a week and save the planet. I’m not asking anybody to haul their own drinking water just so they can value the fact that they have a bathroom sink. It’s not important to me, really. Everybody needs to be happy doing what they do.
I don’t live here so that I can judge your double wide trailer and your shed full of junk you haven’t used, let alone seen, in a the last three years. I don’t live like this so that I can tell you what a wiener you are for having an air conditioner. I live this way because it’s cheap, it’s original, it’s natural, and it’s pretty. Our “house” is really pretty.
We don’t have an indoor toilet. But, the walk to the outhouse isn’t any further than a trip from your living room to your bathroom. It just happens to be outside. We don’t have a sink. But, our walk to the creek to fetch bath water, isn’t any further than walking down the hall. It’s just takes more energy.
While I’m outside, in the crisp morning dawn, fetching a stick of fire wood, I feel healthy and strong. I breathe in the fresh mountain air and survey the sagebrush covered hills, surrounding our property. I take in the sound of the hooting Mama Owl that lives up on the bluff, overlooking the tipi. I listen to the neighbor’s chickens clucking to each other, in their morning banter.
There is no sound of refrigerators running and furnaces kicking on. There is no phone ringing with a reminder that my library book is overdue. I can hear my little girls, through the canvas, waking up. They giggle back and forth, talking about the dreams they had and what dress they are going to wear.
I love the way we live. Everybody should love their choices. It’s not like I moved in and took to all of the transitions with a flex of muscle and a heroic smile on my face. No. I bucked and fought at the idea of dumping my dish water eight times a day! Duck in the door, duck out of the door. And the floor! $%@#! It’s hopeless keeping the outside out.
But, the more we dedicate ourselves to making it work, the more it works. We realize that anything is possible. We can put a sink in and drain it out into a sump hole. We can repaint the floor or tile it. There are endless ways to improve our living situation, and make it easier. But, guess what? It never stops. No matter what we have, something else could always be better! We humans are a funny breed that way. The trick is to stop trying to get what we want, and to start wanting what we have!
We aren’t out to make a statement or change the world. Well, I guess we are, but we aren’t out to try and make everyone else do it! Lifestyle is personal. Some like it carpeted and some like it woody. If we had a million dollars we would build a house. But, we don’t. Instead, we found five acres of creek side paradise. We would rather pay for location, than situation. And, we all make sacrifices for what we want. Ultimately, life is short. I want to watch my kids enjoy nature and learn real skills for actively living on the Earth.
In one second, technological life as we know it, could cease to exist. I’m not talking about a meteor hitting the earth and utterly Armageddon-ing our happy day. I’m simply talking about computer controlled systems failing. What would we do?
Well, I would make a stack of whole wheat honey pancakes, and a pot of good coffee, on my wood stove. I would head out to the green house and pick some herbs for tea. I would read a book to the kids and never miss the fact that the phone wasn’t ringing.
I’m not afraid of the end of the world. I think we will go on talking about the impending doom forever. I’m more afraid of the life not LIVED. I’m more afraid of getting stuck for too long doing what we don’t want to do, just so the neighbors will be happy.
So, excuse me while I head outside to plant my peas. They love the cool breath of spring, and so do I.
Shoshannah Hollon is a 35 year old wife, mother, and tipi dweller from Riggins, Idaho. She married her darling hippie boyfriend that wooed her at the fire lookout when she was 19. She has three beautiful girls and one on the way. Shosh has spent the last three years traveling around the Northwest in a fifth wheel camper, following good paying hubby jobs, and homeschooling the girls. Now, after the recent purchase of five creek side acres, her family has settled down in Salmon River Country, the second deepest canyon in North America. Shoshannah loves to write, draw, sing, hike, sit around campfires, laugh, visit, cook, grow and eat produce, read, study, and spend time with her beautiful family. Her dream is to “grow up” and run a little artsy health food store full of colorful, delicious creations, on the creek. Read more about her tipi living adventures, http://mommysmantras.blogspot.com.