All this waiting. It can't be right. As I played with my son in our back yard this morning I decided to stop waiting, and focus on all the good in my life right now. It wasn't difficult. I looked at him first of all, glorying in his shiningness, the love and connection that radiates between us, almost visible to me some times. He is thriving, and I'm not spending nearly as much energy and time worrying as a result. That's a great thing for both of us. I looked up at the garden all around us, fertile and lush, and Mount Chincogan, my town's 'pet mountain' which you can see from our back yard. As a child I dreamed of living here, and finally, five years ago, pregnant and overawed by the cost and complication of life in our home city of Sydney, my husband and I decided it was time to take the plunge. To move north to this small country town, and see if we could make it work here. By hook and by crook, by dint of miracle after miracle, we have.
I've called this blog Walden because I've been fascinated, from an early age, by the idea of living an intentional life, as Thoreau, the author of 'Walden' did. Of defining success on my own terms, of living experimentally at times, looking for the most satisfying way to spend a day, a week, a season, the most simple way to live. It's what lead me to this town, where a lot of others are attempting to do the same. It's what lead me to the work of writing, giving expression to an urge that has always been there inside. An urge not just to create, but equally, to concentrate. And, of course, I don't need to wait. That's something I have the opportunity to do every moment. Right now.
'Walden (first published as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) is an American book written by noted Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau. The work is part personal declaration of independence, social experiment, voyage of spiritual discovery, satire, and manual for self reliance.'
While I am inspired by Thoreau, my project is a recognisably different one. Not least because he was a single gentleman, living in the 19th century, whereas I am a woman living with my family at the turn of the 21st. Nevertheless I think we have a lot in common.
Thoreau regarded his sojourn at Walden as an experiment with a threefold purpose. First, he was escaping the dehumanizing effects of the Industrial Revolution by returning to a simpler, agrarian lifestyle. Second, he was simplifying his life and reducing his expenditures, increasing the amount of leisure time in which he could work on his writings (most of A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers was written at Walden). Much of the book is devoted to stirring up awareness of how one's life is lived, materially and otherwise, and how one might choose to live it more deliberately. Third, he was putting into practice the Transcendentalist belief that one can best "transcend" normality and experience the Ideal, or the Divine, through nature.
I will be writing more about my Walden-like experiments and experiences, as well as current affairs and other topics, in this blog.
Credits: The quote underneath the blog title: 'A writer is like a dog ...' is by the playwright John Guare. The photo of Byron Bay, the region I live in, is by Maurizio Viani, www.thepocketroad.com. The quote 'As if you could kill time' is from the chapter 'Economy' in Walden. The italicised text and illustration of 'Walden' is from Wikipedia.