Reading the headlines can sure make you depressed. The economic system of the planet is tanking, global climate change is coming on faster & stronger than scientists' models predicted, education is making children hate learning (the trademark of being human!), and so on. So when I hear about beautiful things, I get excited.
In Pasadena, California, the Dervaes family is making a living on their 1/5 acre city lot, producing 6000 pounds of food last year. They encourage the 100 foot diet. They live an inspired life, and their contentment shows. They live simply, but intently. And it's not impossible for any of us to live this way.
If you're interested in learning more about the Dervaes family, there's a lot on youtube. Additionally, check out the blog at http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/ Their web presence is at http://www.pathtofreedom.com/ I am hopeful to be able to get through interlibrary loan a movie about them. The trailer is at http://www.homegrown-film.com/trailer.html
Anais Dervaes says she feels like she was born in the wrong time, that she identifies with Laura Ingalls Wilder. Me as well. I don't like electrically powered kitchen noise, convenience foods, or microwaves. They're unnecessary to worthwhile living. The thrill I get opening up a pantry with shelves bursting with canned garden produce is probably the same feeling someone else would get browsing for a new car. I can't help but be different.
I've been reading a book by William Coperthwaite called A Handmade Life. It's a beautiful book. I enjoy that he talks about all the beauty you can see and feel, and that beauty should be something of abundance in our lives, not scarcity. I like his idea that "we must learn to see beauty in our neighbors living well". You can be sure by "well" he doesn't mean in McMansions with giant lawns, but well in a sense that they are cared for by us and by each other, and have enough. Even though we live in a ghetto, I am constantly amazed by the beauty I see. It's mostly the human interaction that reaches me, people caring about each other in a way that I never saw when I worked a job for a living. These people are so rich, so wealthy in human interaction and love and beauty. I feel privileged to live in such a place.