Category Archives: alternative transportation

My Own Backyard

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The last day of November was warm with a brisk wind to scurry about the colorful leaves. I walked the streets in Clayton to do some banking and grab a bite to eat on my lunch hour. The wind whipped from the west and changed directions several times that hour.  The tell-tale sign of changing seasons.  A mild autumn is quickly going into winter-like weather this week.  The weekend forecast includes snow flakes, and colder than normal temperatures next week. “Each year is a parable begun in stillness, and chill, of bare ground warmed with spring life returning, then bursting, buzzing, peaking in summer, and issuing a final flare in autumn, to subside in another winter’s seeming nullity,” author Stephanie Mills writes in her book Epicurean Simplicity.

Preparations for the winter season may not be a necessary stack of firewood in my suburban lifestyle. I remember as a child  the excitement of my family’s annual New Year’s Eve stay at the one-room cabin my father built on the family farm in Franklin County, Missouri.  The simple shingle covered dwelling probably no bigger that 500 square-feet had no bathroom or electricity, but a wood stove for its heat source.  My father and Grandpa would cut down old trees on the 100+ -acre farm and split wood throughout the autumn season in preparation for deer hunting trips and these winter weekend visits to the family farm.  My current preparations include sweaters and boots being pulled from the depths of the closets as well as my epie pin and antihistamine stowed in my purse for the next 4 months. An allergy to cold air and water is not easy, but is not the worst a person would have to deal with.  Thank goodness for gas heat.

And now I focus on my own heart matters for today.  Simplicity. “Try to see the beauty in your own backyard to notice the miracles of everyday life,” religious leader Gloria Gaither says. I would say that is great advice.  Perennial thoughts and ways, appreciating what you have now, and making do.  Simple, thankful, authentic, resourceful.  I am intrigued by the choice of voluntary simplicity as I further my research  for an enrichment class to teach at my work place.   There are authors, activists, and societies devoted to this way of thinking and lifestyle.  Choices made such as local community versus global; homegrown versus mass produced; renovate or upcycle versus disgard; a 3-generation home versus having separate homes; public transportation, carpooling, or riding  a bicycle versus commuting to work with one’s own vehicle everyday; hand-crafted versus manufacturer made; purchase local versus big brand, slow food versus fast food, and the list goes on.  As author and ecological activist Stephanie Mills states“bigger has not turned out to be better.”  I like the change back to some old ways and traditions.  What does simplicity mean to you?  How have you made simplicity a lifestyle choice?  I would love to hear.

 

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Walk The Streets

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This past weekend I had the opportunity to walk the streets of my town as my chauffeur hubby (our EarthDance Farm friends call him “Dean the Drivin Daffodil”) was out-of-town with the white whale van, and our jeep is still lame.  Though I wanted to get to church for Saturday was the annual Remembrance Mass.  My father had passed away 1 month ago, and we as a church community prayers said together for many other deceased families.  Very moving ceremony, the grace of God was evident.  The walk is about 2.5 miles, took 40 minutes and another 40 back home.  Cool crisp frosty morning.  It warmed up as the morning went along.  I was fortunate to have sidewalks most of the route.  Then Sunday, I walked the other direction about 1 mile to another church to assist with catering of donuts and coffee.  Walked back home, though challenged  with an area of no sidewalks, and no sign to indicate a warning of such.  I had to cross a very busy road to find the sidewalk.  Next week  I will attend a lecture at Washington University in regards to street designs sponsored by TrailNet.  Lector  John Norquist, the president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism will speak on some projects in the St. Louis area.   Do you walk or ride a bike to church, work, or play?  Please share your alternative transportation experiences.