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Wood heat. Yes, wood heat. The best heat?
The best, yes…but labour intensive.
I think we tend to take heated homes for granted. As someone who’s spent the past four months living with wood heat, I can tell you that waking up in the morning, walking out into the living room and just turning a dial…boom…a quiet whirring of an engine starting up and suddenly heat comes blasting out of a hole in the floor. Well, that’s the epitome of a civilised world.
It’s the ease that we take for granted.
It’s the ease of life that we take for granted. No, not the little trials and tribulations of daily life. Not the little annoyances . But the actual ease of life we here in Canada tend to enjoy. The fact that we don’t have to light the stove in the morning; that we don’t have to fetch water from the well. It is these things that are indicative of an easy, modern life.
We forget so easily that life on this planet is in all actuality a great challenge, and a whole lot of work. We forget that it is essentially all about life and death. All the things we take for granted in our lives, all the little luxuries and conveniences are the result of complex systems of inter-relating parts. The simplicity of life that surrounds us is in fact perched high atop a great web of incredibly complex systems. And so easy to forget as we just turn on the computer from the safety of our centrally heated condominiums and are instantly ‘connected’ to the rest of the world.
We often tend to, well…not ignore exactly because I’m pretty sure most of us never really knew to begin with, but rather tend to remain ignorant of much of what it actually takes to live on this planet.
The systems that sustain this ease are hidden from view, and so we rarely, if ever, actually think about them. Our food system is like this. And look what we’ve been relying on there. Imagine what else we’re missing.
On the farm today, a friend’s rubber boot sprang a leak. She’d bought them a week ago. For a dollar. Think about that. We, according to the rationale of the economic system we live under, are a culture that produces garbage for consumption. We use valuable resources to actually produce garbage; something so cheap that it’ll break at the slightest provocation. We make this and sell it to each other, and we call this an economy!
It doesn’t make any sense in this world. It doesn’t make sense for any individual to make something for their own use that will break easily. So why make something for someone else that will do so? You make it well, so that it doesn’t break. Only in the ridiculousness of a system that worships on the altar of perpetual growth and profit-at-any-cost could making garbage and selling it to each other somehow make sense.
But I’ve digressed into yet another rant about how ridiculous our situation is when you actually look at it with some perspective. Kurt Vonnegut understood this.
Back to my main point. Do I have a main point? Or am I just sorta rambling?
Do we even have the slightest clue about the vast and intricate systems that underlie our lives. Certainly in the city we don’t. Late last year, as I was winding down my days in Vancouver and the leaves from the thousands of trees that line the city’s streets, a great awareness passed over me. I became aware of the sheer logistical and human effort involved in just this one of these systems: leaf clean-up. Without this mammoth yearly effort, this seemingly benign and relatively inconsequential activity, the entire city would simply disappear under water; it would drown. Without this clean-up, the city would just begin decomposing under the weight of all those fallen leaves!
And that’s just one example of all the system and coordination and indeed cooperation that underlies our way of living.
Out here in the country, on the farm many of those systems are still in place – electricity for example, a godsend. And yet much of the ease, of the simplicity of living we take for granted in the city or the suburbs is missing. Life is about actually working for it, struggling…
Let’s all remember that fact.