Saturday, January 19, 2008

Indoor Pursuits...

I am taking a new class at the McHenry County Conservation District called "Choices for Sustainable Living." I'm interested in this topic--how we make choices in our everyday lives that make our living less hard on the planet, how we make choices in our everyday lives that have less negative impact on other people--whether they live nearby or far away, how we make choices in our everyday lives that don't increase (and maybe even decrease!) or ecological footprint. I think there is a justice issue here and if I can do even a little something, I think that's part of my calling to care for creation and for God's children.

Well, the first meeting of the class was this past Monday, and during the hour we went around the class introducing ourselves. Of the 19 people (besides me) in the room, 18 began with "I'm so-and-so, and I've always loved nature...." and then went on to talk about something like hiking, camping, canoeing, birdwatching, etc. The 19th person began with "I'm so-and-so and I haven't always loved nature...but then I took a trip to the Boundary Waters and now I love being out in nature."

When it came to my turn, I said, "I'm more of an indoor person, honestly." I love to see the beauty of creation...especially from inside. Don't get me wrong--I love nature. I just don't want to be out in it all the time. I want to be reading, or looking out the window, or cooking, or whatever. I don't want to sleep outside, I don't want to have to wear bug spray, I don't want to go hiking in the woods for my vacation or stay somewhere that doesn't have water. I care about the planet and the people who live on it, and I've always reduced-reused-recycled and I'm working on becoming more of a locavore and eating organic and thinking about what impact my life has on Mother Earth. I'm practically the very definition of a tree-hugger environmentalist, except in this one way. Does that mean that, because I'd rather sit on the couch and read than go for a hike, I don' t love nature?


And besides, what does this have to do with "choices for sustainable living"???

Nonetheless, the response to this was basically "we'll get you outside and you'll change your mind!"

Please, people--you're not likely to. I grew up on a farm and in one of the most beautiful parts of the country, with amazing beaches, mountains, deserts, meadows, hills, rivers, etc. I've been a CampFire Girl. This was my summer camp:

I've been hiking, camping, white water rafting, the whole bit....

...and I'd rather stay home and read a book.

So today, after getting my hair cut, I came home and watched a movie I'd picked up at the library and then read an entire book. I watched the snow fall outside, I played with my kitties, and I made portobella and spinach quesadillas (with organic spinach from one of my own church members who is growing it through the winter as an experiment).

I still love nature...and now I've finished two more Mitford novels--These High Green Hills and Out to Canaan.

Sunday I leave for Montreat--a beautiful beautiful place.

And I bet it's just as beautiful, just as healing, just as good for the soul, from behind a big window and in front of a nice fire, with a book and some tea.


  1. I'm right there with you. I like the occasional hike or paddle around a lake, but I am definitely not the wilderness girl type. I like sleeping in a bed and having running water. I'm not sure why this would shoot my credibility as someone who genuinely cares about the earth and wants to make choices that lessen my impact upon it. Bah, whatever.

  2. Amen sister! See, I do like the occasional short day hike and canoe ride like Stacey too, but I'm married to this guy who thinks that I'm a total sissy because I don't want to spend a month in the woods in the dead of a Canadian winter with nothing but an ultralight pack.
    I like to be warm. I like good food, not dehydrated eggs and beef jerky I like running water, I don't want to have to squat on a log, TYVM.
    On the other hand, I recycle, I conserve water and energy and want to be able to have a clean planet for my kid to enjoy. I am totally going to plant my own food garden this year with peas, squash, tomatoes, spinach, etc. Can't wait! Somehow I don't see how loving the earth means you have to want to be at one with bugs and dirt.