The Joy of Indoor Plumbing & The Loss of Midnight Stars

Nearly two years ago to the day, I sold our family home in Jackson, WY, bought and became steward of some magical acreage on the other side of the Tetons in Victor, ID. I put up a yurt on the property and lived in it the majority of the time as we designed and built a house.

In all of the seasons, we made our home in the yurt, complete with dogs, my grand piano and often up to 3 other family members. We had no indoor plumbing. We learned about incinolet toilets (which lived in an outhouse on the deck) and pellet stoves. We lived simply with an outside grill, a two-burner coleman stove, a small refrigerator and a good sense of humor and adventure.

And as my bruises from unexpectedly falling last week into a dark hole gently fade, I deepen in to the gratitude of:
First, your many emails of kindness and concern (huge thanks!) and second, to the joy of a bathtub with epson salts — to the luxury of walking in to a hot shower — to the ease of cooking on a stove with a counter and a sink with running water just a foot away

And, I also feel a sense of loss that the door to a different way of living with nature has
become more of a window.

There was something quite profound about living so close to the earth for an extended period of time —
~ the visceral awareness and awe inspiring beauty of our spinning earth that slowly moved the Milky Way in the deep of the night
~ the interesting phenomena of not feeling the cold when you walk outside at 2am in -10 degrees to quickly pee in the outhouse and the complete joy of coming back into warm covers and a down comforter
~ the light of the fire from the stove dancing on the canvas throughout the night
~ the feeling of my whole body relaxing when the whoosh of the pellet stove kicked on when temperatures got frigid.
~ And mostly the sounds and movements of so many creatures and birds from evening to early dawn with the deep night story often explained in snowy footprints outside the door from elk, moose and even a mountain lion chasing a deer the next morning.

Living in a yurt engaged all of my senses in a way they hadn’t been before or perhaps will again.

For a while, I was invited into the flow, connection and worldview so close to nature. As I now return to the ease of insulation and indoor plumbing, I feel my body relaxing into the ease of these modern amenities. Yet it yearns to hold those magical days. It makes me ever more aware of the fortitude, perseverance and resilience of our forbearers. To survive, they lived with the interconnectedness of all of our senses, our intellect, and our symbiosis and knowledge of the natural world around us.

I deeply worry about the ever growing distance that we put between modernity and that life of only a few generations ago. Our sensory enhancement and awareness is like a muscle. We need to use it or we will lose it. I do not think the rise in brain cancers, headaches and mental disorders is just a coincidence. We rely so much on our brain when we have so many other senses that can help guide and energize our knowing.

We were all indigenous once. As we balanced the flow of different paradigms of the world, may we remember our connection, may we flex the muscles of our senses feeling our feet on the ground beneath us, hearing sound of the winds and the birds and allowing that connection to guide us.

In allowing our heart and our core to fully open to the attunement of the natural world, everything shifts. Growing data confirms that we become more creative, we heal faster, we argue less and we laugh more. We remember our interconnectedness. May we pay attention to the site of a determined flower pushing its way up through the concrete to say, “I am here, and I am part of you.”

To the flow of loving indoor plumbing and remembering the earth beneath us.

Happy September,

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