The life that many modern people live seems to me to be both monotonous and futile. That type of life may work well for some people, and I’m sure that for some there is no alternative. However, I would not survive very long in the cramped cement and noise of a city. I would probably fall into terrible depression if I had an office job with nothing to show for my work but money. Instead of living the more lucrative but high speed life of many Americans, my family chooses to be intentionally poor.
We live on a farm in the country. I am an introverted teenager, and living in a quiet place is important for my mental and emotional wellbeing. When I visit the city, I always crave the quiet, slower pace of the country and begin to realize just how important the rhythms of nature and the farm are to me. Every morning starts with chores: feeding the goats and chickens and then making breakfast while my parents milk our cow. Without the noise and distraction of city living, we focus on everything we do and get satisfaction out of it all.
My mother has a pottery studio and is an artist which allows me to experience how rewarding and delightful having lots of time to create is. When I make a pot, I am creating a vessel that will live with and serve someone (hopefully) bringing joy into her/his life. Drawing, on the other hand, lets me look closer at the things around me and appreciate each detail, and I am quite sure that I draw better in the quietude of the country. Additionally, I love watching part of me come into being outside of my own existence when I’m journaling or writing down the characters and worlds that I see in my head. Although being an artist is not often a lucrative profession, all of these creative things and acts give purpose to my life and help me to reflect and make sense of the world.
While I do love bringing my own ideas into the world, I also love enjoying other people’s creations. I am an only child, and books have given me the opportunity to understand and experience deep friendships and the joys of having siblings. Through books, I go on journeys with characters I would not have met otherwise. I am a world traveler without the carbon footprint, and in spite of being more of a calm routine person, I love the thrill of reading adventure and action stories. Through their art, I can truly see how a writer’s mind works.
As an introvert, I enjoy and crave the solitary, peaceful and meditative pursuits that I think are more available in country living. I need to be away from the speed, noise, hard surfaces and constant social interactions that are a part of city life. I believe that everyone should try their hardest to find the way of living that makes them the most content. In intentionally not participating in the lifestyle of many Americans, I have found mine.
The following poem was written by my friend, Eleanor.
in a school shooting.
will you tell them
will you bother them until they listen.
If you have to
will you scream.
I shouldn’t have to say this but
will you burn their all their money to the ground.
and throw a bundle of funeral lilies
onto their feet and shake them by the shoulders.
scream every beautiful thing I’ve done
Into their beetle-black eyes.
and muffle their needle-sharp lies.
you cannot let me or my friends or my brothers or my sisters
be only a statistic
for people to pull from their pockets
when they are sending nothing but prayers.
I shouldn’t have to write about this.
but do they know what it’s like
to wake up in the morning with your heart beating fast and slipping through your throat
on the first day of school thinking
guns and death and oh my god and oh my god does anyone care about us at all.
they never listen when we say
YOU ARE KILLING US
-Eleanor, a teenaged political activist.
The following post was written by my friend Grace.
Something that has been very important to me lately is the environment. I’ve always been very aware of climate change and global warming but it wasn’t until this past fall that I’ve actually decided to do something about it.
We were driving home from camping, where we had been out of cell-phone service and had no idea of anything important that had happened, but we noticed a ton of smoke in the air. We didn’t know what it was from, but I was thinking along the lines of construction tearing down the forest in a cloud of pollution and I was getting madder and madder.
Later, I found out that the smoke was from the fires that have burned down much of the forests in the west coast of America. Still, with the climate being hotter, global warming did and has been affecting the fires. So I made a video to share my opinions about climate change along with posters and my own blog. But as the months went on I still didn’t feel like I was doing enough. I was telling people my thoughts, but not changing many of my own actions. So I decided that for the summer I was going to go Zero Waste.
Zero Waste is when you eliminate all the non-recyclable or compostable trash for your life. This meant hardly any plastic, buying most thing second-hand, and buying what we used to buy packaged in bulk. It was a complete life change for me, since I used to do things like grab a bag of chips from the store and now I wouldn’t buy them at all. Going zero waste was healthier, saved a ton of money, and also made me feel positive about myself, since I really was making a difference in the world.
Now that summer is over, I stopped being super strict about Zero Waste since at times it was stressful, but I don’t think I could ever go back to buying plastic/waste. I feel better about my life when being thoughtful about the environment, and I love inspiring others to do the same!
I am slightly ashamed to admit that I hadn’t heard of the Never Again movement until last week. I knew there was some sort of movement led by students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the February 14, 2018 shooting there, but I didn’t know what it was called or even the names of the students involved in it. Then my dad brought home #Never Again by David and Lauren Hogg, two Parkland survivors and members of the movement. I read the book in three days and couldn’t stop thinking about it for several more days after that.
Besides having an immense amount of respect for David and Lauren, I wanted to do something to help. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to handle the stress of putting myself out there like they are doing, but I still wanted to do something. First, I started wearing a safety pin again (see this previous post for more on the safety pin movement). Then, today, as I asked some friends of mine if they’d read #Never Again, I realized that by simply reading the book, recommending it to others and asking them to spread the word to their friends, I was contributing to the movement albeit in a small way.
#Never Again, by siblings David and Lauren Hogg, is an account of their experience at Stoneman Douglas before and during the February 14th shooting. The book tells how the Never Again movement took shape and began to grow.
Please read it. Read it for those 17 people killed in Parkland. Read it for the many others killed in school shootings. And please, never forget.
I was not old enough to vote in the 2016 presidential election. If I had been old enough, I would not have voted for Trump. To me, this means that Trump is truly not my president. I feel like I am being falsely represented by the president of my country. Other countries are meeting with him or hearing about what he’s doing. What if they think that we all voted for him and that we all like what he’s doing? I love the United States. I love my country. That does not mean I love my country’s president.
I wish I could let all the other countries in the world know that even though Trump is representing the US, not all of us Americans support him. Many of us weren’t even old enough to vote in the 2016 presidential election at all, and we are the ones who are being shot. Those school age Americans who were shot in the many school shootings since Trump’s election weren’t old enough to vote in 2016. Trump is promoting the very weapons that are being used to shoot these kids. They are some of the victims of his presidency.
I want the rest of the world to know that even though Trump is our representative, some of us stand separately. Please do not think we all voted for him. Please don’t dislike our country just because of the things our president is saying and doing. Some of us stand separately.
So I say I feel that I’m being falsely represented. Trump is excluding people from my country. Trump is promoting the ownership of weapons and is not working to stop the school shootings of my fellow minors. Trump is not defending my friends. Trump does not care about us.
Yesterday was the last time for me to be in the woods with the goats for two weeks as I am going to music camp tomorrow. I wanted to post a little updates on how the forest is looking nowadays.
A lot of poison ivy has sprung up on the path as you can see in this photo which makes it rather difficult to get to the black raspberries you’ll see in the second photo.
Below we have some self heal in the first photo and Hildegard and Morisot in the second.
Hildegarde eating sassafras in the first photo and tickwood treefoil in the second.
If you were looking for me this morning, you’d have found me sitting in the woods with our goats. Twice a week from now until October my mom and I are taking our goats to a nearby retreat center to eat invasive species in their woods.
The spot that I am taking the goats to had timber harvested about eight years ago. As soon as the trees were cut, all the invasive species had the light and space to grow. Since there was not a proper plan for the cleared land (such as planting more trees in tree tubes), the invasive species took off. Now, the forest floor in that part of the forest is covered in multi-floral rose, autumn olive and raspberry–things that will take over if they are not eradicated. Moreover, new trees cannot be established or planted until all these species are gone.
The retreat center was very against chemicals to eradicate the invasives, hence where our goats come in. The retreat center used to have goats, but they were never put to good use, and the center doesn’t have them any more. We live three minutes away and have three goats. We were willing to make a test out of this forest area. Our goal was to see how well three goats could control a couple of acres of invasive species.
We’ve taken our goats down five times now, and they just love the eating. Since it is just a test, we don’t expect all the invasives to be gone over the course of these next five months. However, my hope is that once we have a fuller understanding of what goats can do to control invasive species, an appeal will be able to be made to the retreat center to have on site goats with a live in goatherd. The goats would be able to be on the land all day every day and eat the invasive species down so that trees could be planted. In the end, a healthy forest would be established.
I will be posting updates every few weeks with pictures to illustrate how this control of invasive species in this forest is going. Hopefully you all will learn more about goats, plants, trees and sustainable forest management from them.
- Hildegarde enjoying the sun.
- Hildegarde again. You can see the low, brushy invasive species in the background.
- May apple blossoms and leaves. The goats don’t like them.
- Wild geranium. The goats also don’t like this.
I believe that the safety, education and well-being of our children should be our highest priority. Children are the ones that will carry on and work for a better world. The children are the ones that need to be educated in peace and love. If we want world peace, than our children should be taught to love one another and nature. If we want our world to survive and be filled with love, then we should be giving the best of everything to our children so that they can carry out these dreams that we have for our world.
While, yes, there are millions of kids on this planet, any one of those kids killed in Texas could have been or grown up to be a future Gandhi, Lincoln or peacemaker. To make this planet continue to exist in a way that is livable, we need to have all our children educated, happy, properly fed and alive.
Our president, Donald Trump, has the power to keep children safe. He has the power to implement gun control laws. He has the power to make our country safe for us all, not just children, yet he has done nothing of the sort. He is always on Twitter, always on the internet stating some ridiculous thing, yet it appears that he knows nothing of what is actually happening to and in our country.
Since our president is doing nothing, we, as the people, should do something. Although few of us have the power to change the entire nation in one sweeping move, we each can spread a message of love to others-adults and children alike-and in doing so, we all will change the country. Together.