We changed cities this month, a five hour drive sort of east. This puts on the other side of Toronto, which may or may not be an advantage, as long as it keeps us out of Toronto, which is beginning to resemble just another NYC. (Sorry, Toronto, it’s my opinion.) We are out of the echoey apartment and into a house with family, which is a great advantage. Our former apartment was so noisy with the neighbours’ sounds that it was as if it was haunted. I don’t mind haunted that much, but these “ghosts” were most active in the wee hours, and we lost a lot of sleep. The little suburban house, strategically near our niece’s college, is also near the harbour and the downtown area, which is fun and vibrant and operating at all kinds of cultural levels. And there’s no one upstairs.
Which brings me to the topic of cities, in general. Cities are all emulating the Big Apple – they never sleep. Everything is 24 hour, 7 days a week, no break. It is frenetic. It is constantly rats in a maze on speed, all the floodlights on. Even little cities, like the one where we worked in New Brunswick, are all-day, all-night, all-the-time rush, rush, traffic at three a.m., coffee shops open, fast food open, supermarkets open, box stores open – do you want to shop at four a.m. on Tuesday? No problem. We have somnabulant sales associates waiting to meet your need! I haven’t checked, but is NO-DOZ traded on the exchange? It might the only good investment right now.
The general feeling in our family is that country life is where we are headed. We are planning our backyard garden, and have composted the leaves and the kitchen waste. We talk about log houses, and stone houses, and animals. (We are an animal loving tribe.) The 19-year-old came in to help set up the new (secondhand) computer and reported he had seen a horse and buggy and a drafthorse plowing outside the city. He was impressed. Before the move, we easily discarded extra furniture, clothes and electronics, but we kept the spinnng wheels, the canning equipment and the axes.
I think the older members of the household see it as a holy vocation, living on the land and being productive in an authentic, charitable way. We want to take less of the limited resources for ourselves, and we want to provide beyond our own needs for others. Small scale farming does both. We have not only the interests, but the skills, and the younger members of the family are working to acquire a set of their own in carpentry and animal care. They may be drawn by the bright lights and shopping malls right now, but with some thought (and our prayers) they may well see the longlasting value of the old ways, the simple life, and the joy of following Christ.