Spontaneity in Reserve

By , January 10, 2012

Lately, in looking at how we live on the homestead, I’d begun to conclude that we have lost our spontaneity.

Admittedly, a life like ours, in which we are responsible for creating, managing and gathering all the things most Americans take for granted—electricity, water, plumbing, and a good deal of our food—requires much forethought and careful planning. Predicting future needs and requirements, ensuring that resources last as long as possible, and accommodating the extra time and effort to achieve goals dictates a certain placidity of character. Many of our movements are dictated by the set of the tide. And, as a faithful user of a Franklin-Covey Planner, I operate on a plan-ahead philosophy.

It seemed to me that we had become very dull people, unable to break away from the routines we’ve created for ourselves.

On a recent morning, lying in bed just before rising, I thought about this, and I began to see it in a different way.

I began to recall episodes in our life that I have not had cause to dwell on lately. I remembered wind generator break downs, leaks in the hot water heater, roof leaks, fallen trees, avalanches, collapsing buildings, even unexpected fishing and hunting opportunities. Each of these surprise events required us to drop what we had been doing to focus our attention and energies elsewhere. I realizzed that unexpected wildlife appearances, whales and moose among the many, compel us to change whatever we’d planned to make way for the fleeting chance to watch our natural neighbors, or get out of their way. There have also been times when unexpected weather has forced us to seek shelter in town rather than returning to the homestead, or change planned trips. I recalled many other examples of events that required instantaneous adjustment.

I realize that we are spontaneous people after all, it’s just that we hold that spontaneity in reserve, for when it’s needed most. This aspect of our life may make us seem to others as more staid and devoted to our routines than we actually are. That comes from the hope that all will continue to go well—or at least as expected.

2 Responses to “Spontaneity in Reserve”

  1. Jeannie says:

    Mark, my prayers are that all is well with you and Michelle. Have been reading with concern about the snowfall in Haines – hope you’ve been staying warm and safe. Glad you’re not in Cordova! Jeannie

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Hi Jeannie, is Haines in trouble? We’re absolutely fine here, almost no snow on the ground, and of course, under our own power. You got me scrambling for information on Haines, but they don’t seem to be too badly off at present. We’re glad your folks aren’t still up in the valley, though, as it’s bound to be bad up that way.

    Funny, I read that we’ve (i.e. Haines, not us here in the “banana belt”) gotten more snow than Cordova this year. Guess what really counts is how much of it comes at once!


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