For this artsy Saturday, I want to take simplicity to the edge. This is a picture of a floor in one of the sites I visited this summer uRV trips. I guess it is considered a parquet floor but I don’t think I have ever encountered one like it. Being a woodworking guy it just fascinated me. For those who don’t know what they are looking at, it is an end view of the 2×6 boards.
I thought I would make this post the epitome of simplicity. What 19th or early 20th century home could live without a 25 lb can of lard. If 25 lbs is not enough how about an 80 lb can? It goes really good on crackers I hear. I just love taking pictures of old time containers, these were found in Madison Indiana a few years ago.
I came across a blog site (The Drabble) the other day that spoke to my heart. Actually the site came across me by “liking” one of my very short posts. The words simple, yet evocative pieces that capture what it means to be human described the purpose of the site. Simple yet evocative says it all for me. It is hard to do both but when it is done successfully it is genius and many of the posts I reviewed on that blog did just that.
I have been on a “Simplicity” binge for about 5 years now. For me at least, life is just getting too complicated even in my retirement years. Everyone seems to be on a razor’s edge now and can’t see much joy in life. Since this is the only go-around we have if you waste your life with worry and fear it is indeed wasted and gone forever. It is definitely time for simplicity in my, and most others’ lives.
Getting back to the theme of this post. Simple yet evocative, is something that is very difficult to do. One of my favorite sayings is from a folk singer legend Pete Seeger:
Any damn fool can get complicated. It takes a genius to obtain simplicity.
It is easy to make things complicated. Just look at all those yahoos inside the Washington DC beltway for evidence of that. We need folks who can take complicated and give us simple answers. That is what most of those who voted for the current president were hoping for but the rest of us knew he was just too flawed to actually live up to any of his hyper rhetoric.
We also need simplicity from ourselves. Your life is not really as complicated as you think it is. Millions and millions of people have faced the same struggles as you are and still found joy and happiness and that is what I personally intend to do for my remaining years.
I naively think I will take a serious crack at Simple yet evocative here on RJsCorner. I think that melds very well with my desire to write some prose. Simple yet evocative is difficult to achieve but I think I am up to it. How about you??
I loved the quote in the title above when I came across it recently on the CNN Channel’s GPS. Too many people want easy-to-understand answers to all the problems around them. So when someone comes along and tells them that the solution to gross wealth inequity is to build a wall around the country they jump on board. When someone tells them that the answer to terrorism is to ban all Muslims and deport those citizens who don’t take a loyalty test They say “yeah, yeah”. In my mind the people who do that are just too lazy to take the time to understand the complexity of the issues. “Get rid of immigrants and all the jobs will come back.” “Ban Muslims and there will be no terrorists in the good ole USA”. HELL YEAH!!!
I have made it known several time on this blog recently that simplicity is one of my current goals in life. To lead a simple life free of stuff is the central part of it. But there is a difference between trying to simplify your life and thinking everything has simple answers. There are unknown connections between many things in life that make “simple” answers almost impossible.
A long time ago on PBS there was a series called Connections hosted by David Suzuki. It showed how many diverse things were connected in this world. It seems that almost everything interrelates with everything else. Nothing is isolated onto itself. The answer to wealth opportunity inequity requires serious contemplations and attacks. A big part of it is simply perception.
- Too many people are wrongly convinced that they don’t have a chance in this world so they think and act (or maybe don’t act) accordingly.
- Too many people think that they are unable to learn so they don’t even try. The slog along in high school and then expect a high paying job when they get out.
- Too many people don’t take the time to “think” and ponder the issues to find the most viable solution. They are convinced that if they can’t find a job where they are or with their current training then there is nothing else they can do.
- Too many people are just too lazy or have such low self-esteem to believe that they can do something about their circumstances in life. They want simple answers and easy options.
The appeal of simplicity in a complex world is enticing indeed…
The last few years the concept of simplicity has been a major theme for me. I have spent much of the last year decluttering my life and all the stuff I have unnecessarily collected. That included a closet of clothes never worn in several years and a 30×60 foot barn with decades worth of accumulated junk.
For some reason I now find it much more satisfying to live a cleaner life without so much stuff. I don’t know if this is because I can see the end of the tunnel or if this has been a lifelong endeavor that is finally risen to the surface. Either way I am glad to welcome it into my world.
I searched out my photo library for what I think is the very idea of Simplify and came up with the following photo. Living simply does not mean living without beauty…
Sometimes I see the elegance in the simplicity. This is one of those times….
Since I have been trying to chill out more lately I have been going back to a source of mental stability in my life and that is the words of Will Rogers. The words above should be the bible for all of us who want to know what is really important to do with your life.
I am an altruist and being one much of my life is now centered about others who have much bigger challenges than I do. I think that is a pretty noble thing to focus on in life and I am trying hard to do just that. But that doesn’t mean that you have to throw your personal happiness out the window to accomplish it. In reality you got to take care of yourself too or you are no good to anyone.
As Will says, in the general scheme of things we are all only here on this earth for a short spell and then we pass on as all of our ancestors have. While we are here we need to get a few laughs in life. Many of those laughs should be focused back on ourselves. It is healthy to often laugh at ourselves. It keeps us from being so self-centered and that is also a very important lesson to learn.
Doing the best you can is all anyone could ask of you. In order to do our best we must do the work to make that happen. I know it might be easier to just veg out in front of the TV or computer screen but if we really want to do our best we must work at it. That means learning about history so we don’t make the same mistakes our parents and grand parents did. That means we got to do the work necessary to be a productive member of society. Getting a proper education is critical to that. If only all of us did the best we can, can you even imagine how much greater this world would be?
I take Will’s last words here to mean live a life of simplicity. You might have a different take on them but that is what they say to me right now. He tells me not to get hung up on the material things in life. They just aren’t that important. As a matter of fact losing many of our most valued treasures might actually be a good thing in the overall scheme of a fulfilling life. Keep your life simple and you will be happy. Don’t worry about the stuff you don’t have or the stuff your neighbor has, or the stuff you might lose. That as Will says is just applesauce.
Thanks Will for helping me to keep my life on an even keel and to know what is really important.