Living small

It has been horribly hot and humid this last week, and will be only slightly less oppressive next week. In weather like this, I’m always torn between longing to be cool and not wanting to be wasteful. I end up running the one A/C unit we have as little time as I can bear and seeking out cool places to pass the day. You can often find me in the frozen food aisle…

I try to justify my actions by considering that, compared to much of the US, we are living small. Our house is compact, under 1000 sq. ft. Except on the hottest days, we cool with open windows and ceiling fans. In winter we thoroughly insulate the leaky windows, hang blankets over the basement door, and rarely run the heat over 60°. The driveway is shovelled by hand, our only power yard tool is a push mower, and we’re not out there obsessively shearing, fertilizing, and poisoning the yard. We compost, plant wildlife-friendly shrubs, and keep a big brushpile and a shaggy verge around the pond.  Much of what we buy is second-hand. We recycle and repurpose things past use, and donate what’s still good.

By the standard of most of the world, of course, we are shamefully self-indulgent. I know it, and as I watch the oil spread over the Gulf, I’m bathed in good old liberal guilt. I should be doing more, but life is so much easier with a second car! I really want that fresh fruit in winter! Dammit, I’m hot as hell and I don’t want to take it any longer!

So… I do what I can. Or what I’m willing to do.

I hope I know the difference.

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Categories: Why? | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Living small

  1. This was helpful to read. And I want to know when I’m crossing from one to the other, to know the difference~

  2. ….and for me, the question / struggle arises of how to refrain from morally judging others whom i consider to be in the top twenty percent of north american *consumers*, suburban ‘have-whatever-we-wants’, who have to build new additions onto their houses to …house all of their possessions in the most pretty way….

    how to love _and_ challenge a housemate who looks even at food as a “let’s look at this for a few days”-non-consumptive, until it goes bad” item….

    …how to embrace the…well, the LARGE: ie, this quote from one of my beloved singer-songwriters who passed on: “There’s so much beauty around us, but just two eyes to see. Everywhere I go, I’m lookin.” ….when we get outside of the house, the world is a very big place. and when we are afforded the chance to see the beauty that is there—sometimes there every day or every season, sometimes a once, only once, just once in a ninety year lifespan piece of beauty: oh the gift.

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