Opening day at a local farm venue–the activity was free and the weather almost balmy for the beginning of April. My sweet sister and I took our children to gawk at the chicks, feed the baby goats, and learn about Native American culture. The rest of the families in the city had the same notion, and we were met with crowds. The day didn’t turn out quite as blissful as planned, but the kids had fun–success.
Days later, I am still pondering the life of Native Americans. The guide for the Native American lodge was very knowledgeable about her people’s traditions and tales. She offered a glimpse into a culture that survived communally and washed in a belief that the natural world should be respected and cherished. Each plant, animal and season had a purpose, a message, a cause to exist, and therefore was worthwhile. But I digress.
The housing–I can’t stop thinking about their houses. You see right now as I type this, it is late Sunday night and I’ve crossed over back to my home state line with a trailer full of stuff– small tools, boxes of garage items that haven’t been opened in three years, golf clubs that I haven’t used since before my first child was born, and a few lonesome house plants. Yes I declare myself a minimalist, and my extended family laughs at my paltry pieces of housewares that I make do with because I want to live with less and a kitchen knife is my type of food processor (I’m good with having just enough…I thought). But right now I’m cleaning out what remains in my former home, and it is too much. Too much of my weekend has gone to digging through stuff. Too much money has been wasted on buying this forgotten stuff. Too many earth’s resources eradicated and redirected to creating this stuff. Too many people injured by the unethical work conditions or pollution created so I can have more stuff. And my children spent their weekend mostly absent from me and their dad because we had to deal with the stuff. How ridiculous it all sounds when I write it out, but here I am in a truck with trailer attached trucking past America’s Main Street in middle states hauling stuff…junk…and then I think about the cool walls of the lodge, the dirt floors, the multiple families that would have lived, loved, and survived under its thatched skyline and I envy them.
When I was 16, I stayed on the Navajo reservation working and worshipping with this tribe. They were then and are now few in number. Separated, desolate, and living in poverty under horribly harsh and unfair conditions. These are not the Natives I envy–this scenario makes me angry, sad (but again I digress). My admiration is for the ancestors of a people who took from the earth only what they needed, who worked as it was needed, who lived in a time of kinship and community ( and no I’m not completely deluded–it was far from perfect). Life was real and imperfect, but it was not a residence like this Skype-d up alter-egoed FaceBook fairyland where modern man resides. They were flesh who lived in the flesh. I envy that while some groups did travel with their houses tied to dog or horse, they carried only what they needed. They did not travel carrying a trailer full of junk wondering where to store it in an overburdened garage. I envy that they some tribes thought beyond to the seventh-generation, and well I’m just praying we don’t pop a tire on this burgeoning trailer tonight… Yes, I’m a minimalist–unfortunately my life hasn’t completely caught up with my heart…