I wonder what Laura Ingalls Wilder must have felt like at the end of her life. To have seen the wild west as truly that. To have only used candles, wood stoves, and root cellars. Then to watch as electricity took the nation by storm, coffee makers and dishwashers plugged in, refrigerators and stoves. I am sure it was amazing and something to marvel. A woman’s life made easier. But, I wonder if there was any mourning for the way things were done.
Fast forward and we see that feminism brought with it the ability and expectation to not only work full time but also get to take care of the entire household at the same time! Chemical cleaners, packaged poison food, and quick medicines with side effects, day cares where someone else can raise your child, and all the electronics you can handle are our everyday life now. All to make a woman’s life easier.
Many folks want to go back a little. Get a little land, live a lot simpler. One overwhelming comment that I always here is, “But I want running water and electricity!”
My Aunt Donna has a cabin up in the mountains built circa 1800’s. I used to take my son there when he was small. It sits nestled in a canyon with a sloping, giant of a mountain as the back yard. Tree houses and forts dot the landscape from family members past that played in those woods. A small meadow with a pond and a stream is in front of the house. The sun rises over the meadow and brightens the landscape.
At the time I stayed there, electricity was not present. There was water, gravitationally pulled I imagine, a well I don’t remember, for there was a shower outdoors in the back. Water ran from the sink. The outhouse was a small walk away through the fresh pines and the smell of clean air. Birdsong escorting you there. The peacefulness that the cabin bestowed was something that I wish for in my everyday.
At twenty one or so years old, I never even considered the fact that it had no electricity. Oddly, I took to the woodstove instantly. I started a fire and cooked meals on it without problems. The smell of sweet wood. Fresh fish. I kept the cabin warm in the evening. I also started a small bonfire by the pond and cooked potatoes and corn over the fire. My son and my wolf by my side.
I know that running a full household that way day in and day out may grow old, particularly if one were to have several children. It’s just me and Doug now. The children skip in and out, mostly out. And our house is getting quieter and easier to run. I can cook on a wood cook stove. I can heat the house with wood. It certainly would be less shocking than the electric bill I got in the mail the other day. I could use the water from the sinks to water the garden. I could use a root cellar. I could….
There is a small farmhouse with my name on it out there. And a cook stove waiting to be lit.