Summer has me feeling like a hippie in some ways. I guess the modern phrase involves words like “green movement” and “sustainable living.” But there’s something about these beautiful sunny days spent digging in the dirt and reading in the shade, watching my children play happily in a sandbox (rather than with an XBox) that causes me to remember why we love this planet. I could let my hair grow long, and stop wearing makeup. We could go off the grid and trade local produce with neighbors. I could make our own soap, and illegally raise chickens in our backyard for eggs and meat. We could stay up late in tents with hundreds of strangers, listening to a dulcimer concert and subsequent squaredancing calls as we drift off to sleep (there might be a story behind this, but please don’t ask).
Seriously, though — do you find it disturbing how dependent on technology we have become? Electricity has been in common use for only 200 years, and in that short timespan we as a society have practically thown away centuries of basic skills like canning, hunting, and collecting rain water. Why waste time on those ancient, old-fashioned chores! We need all the extra minutes we can get, to keep up with our friends on Facebook and play a rousing Wii game of family golf.
It’s ironic to me that we go to the Internet to find out information about how to live green — and that this makes us progressive and forward-thinking — when many of these concepts had actually been practiced for centuries before our electrical modern conveniences.
Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy the perks of living in the 21st century, perks like the iPhone I’ll be getting in July, and this blog I’m writing. But maybe this summer I’ll spend less time online or otherwise plugged in, and more time participating in actual life. I may even teach myself and the kids about home canning. You never know when we might need these skills again.