On Wednesday I spent the day with my youngest son on his school excursion to Timbertown. We have been there before, so it was nice to go with his class group.
Apart from spending the day with my son, it was a very healthy day for me. I felt a reconnection.
I walk into the little cottages and there is something spooky about it. I see the small rooms with perfectly laid out furnishings and hand made quilts on beds and hand stitched lacework on vintage wooden chests of drawers. It is spooky yet it really speaks to me. It is spooky because I can sense the pain of a woman who probably had 10 children with no electricity or running water and worse still... no lap top to record her frustrations and joys!
After the spookiness clears I am drawn to the simpleness. I am drawn to the fact that there are limited personal possessions, which meant that what they had was truly treasured. I am drawn to the idea that their life was made up of the ‘job’ of living in itself.
Every day was about living. It was about preparing meals , growing food, washing clothes, making belongings, educating children. These tasks took all day. I see our lives in contrast where we do the ‘business of living’ in a short period of time. We wash our clothes automatically, have our food delivered and outsource the majority of the other tasks. Then we are left with the rest of the day and week wondering what we should do. We have so much time left over that we introduce jobs, hobbies, socialising, children’s activities and recreational shopping.
As I look around the old style room I imagine that life was so busy through the week from sun up to sun down that by the time Sunday came around it was a well earned ‘day of rest’. How lovely it must have been to know that you worked hard and accomplishment so much all week that you were due for a day of relaxation and socialising. I guess the flip side of that is that it all started again with wash day on Monday.
Of course I know that I am totally romanticising the whole thing and the reality would have been quite harsh ( especially the no lap top bit) but isn’t that was nostalgia is all about ? You take the good and leave the bad.
Back to my home in the 21st century where I have my own version of the pioneer cottage. My focus turns to preparing meals, tending to the garden, baking some treats, composting the food scraps, collecting the eggs, washing the clothes, tidying and caring for my home, making some handmade cards and helping the children.
I am just lucky that I have a digital camera and lap top computer so that we can all share the journey.