We were at our favorite Celtic festival this weekend. For two days we step back in time. We feel a swell of pride and odd recognition as we hear the familiar bag pipes sound. Outfits of different eras swish in the morning air through the woods. We find our clan (Mackay) and bid everyone well. It is an annual time of catching up with old friends and seeing glimpses of a simpler time as we toast with our mead and listen to the fiddlers and harpists play.
As I drive home, flying down the highway, I see the abandoned homesteads and outbuildings that line the railroad tracks.
All our modern conveniences do not add up to happiness. We still work the same hours but with less meaningful work and constant stress. I think our bodies were made to be more physical, our tasks plenty. Our evenings filled with music and books by the fire instead of stressful television shows. Home cooked meals and clothes on the line and chickens waiting for scratch and friends coming to call on Sunday afternoon. There was joy in simplicity and we were not so inundated with brain washing media and mass panic.
I could see the ghosts of the farm women in their aprons taking a pail of milk into the farm kitchen. The men throwing hay to the sheep. A trusty farm dog by his side.
At the festival our friends did demonstrations of sheep herding with their incredible Border Collies. A tradition as old as the Highlands.
We do not have to fall into the day to day modern but can choose to live more simply. We can choose to unplug the television, hang up a clothes line, put a pot of beans on, cancel cable. We can choose to dress simpler, eat simpler, enjoy simpler activities like having friends over to laugh by the fire or take a walk in the evening. We can shut off the news and don our aprons and embrace our inner wisdom and enjoy a simple life.
For many of the greatest joys are from holding a warm egg just laid in your hands, or clipping herbs for tea, or seeing how many tomatoes are ready to harvest. Some of our greatest joys are in an embrace, a smile, a plate of locally grown food, and a day consumed with inner peace.