We’ve taken to spending a lot more time reading during this Winter season. I read this cool book titled Twelve By Twelve, about a guy who lives in a 12×12 off-grid cabin in North Carolina for a Summer. Our cabin is only slightly bigger than that, and we live in ours year-round, not just during the comfortable seasons. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty fascinating book by William Powers that I highly recommend. He talks a lot about Idle Time; time with which you do nothing. It’s a very Zen way of spending time. Just like meditation. He talks about people in other cultures around the world who plan their days around having hours of Idle Time, just to sit with Nature and be. It struck a chord with me.
We live in the woods. And while we have a project list that’s never-ending and there’s always things for us to be doing and working on, I absolutely enjoy my Idle Time here at the ranch. Last Summer on days off from work, my favorite thing in the morning was sitting outside in the sunshine with a cup of coffee or tea and just watching the birds and squirrels wake up for the day. Watching the energies of the wildlife as the morning matures is both fascinating and energizing in itself. I have grown to really love my Idle Time.
My Dad is a Taoist, and I grew up with that Zen way of thinking. You spend quiet moments simply observing Nature to prepare for your day. So during our nicer days towards the end of this current Winter season, I’ve been spending more time simply sitting outside, with Loki at my feet, reading or just being. As the days have been warming up and the snow has started to melt, we have a lot to do outside, and while we do spend a lot of time working on the ranch, we make time for Idleness too. We even had our first couple of outdoor bonfires last week.
I read an article recently about Forest Bathing, which is essentially being out in the woods, soaking up all the energy from Nature, and how beneficial it is for your health. People who regularly participate in Forest Bathing have less anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Trees are so good for your health; the ions they emit will heal what ails you. Since we live in the woods we reap the benefits of being in the forest every day. A couple of weeks ago we took a short vacation to Northern Arizona (Flagstaff/Sedona/Williams area), and stayed in a motel near downtown Flagstaff. Let me tell you, I could absolutely sense the difference between staying in a city and living in the woods. We stayed up later than we normally do, didn’t sleep as well, and felt a lot more drained.
I literally couldn’t sleep one night because the mini fridge in our room was making too much noise. That humming was too much for me. We unplugged it. While the getaway was nice, we were happy to get home to the woods!
The weather was looking up as far as Winter maybe winding down, then it started snowing yesterday, and it hasn’t stopped. We have almost a foot of fresh snow on the ground! I guess February wanted to go out with a bang. So our weekend projects have been put on hold for the day at least. It’s supposed to be back up warm and sunny tomorrow for the rest of the week. For today, we’ll just be cleaning up, cooking, reading, and I’m going to attempt to bake bread in the woodstove. More on that soon.
What a miserable place to be snowed in.