Saturday, 29 September 2018

A thought about the word 'Freedom'.......

It came into my mind early this morning, the word 'Freedom', which seemed a strange word to have become planted in my head, but yet it stayed quite fixed and would not budge.

Being Saturday, it meant that neither Lester or myself were in the Monday to Friday work routine, a routine which became instated in our lives when last year he started working for a UK / USA employer.  It sometimes seems quite strange to see him involved in on line conferences, with those other folk in their offices and Lester sitting beside me, with Maz (our Rottweiller) somewhere close by, the sheep, cows, chickens, or cockerels occasionally voicing their  complaints about this or that, or sometimes just giving voice to joyfulness, especially when a hen lays an egg, or a cockerel is trying to impress his ladies. And then there is the sound of cars on the road, not many, just a few. Or the chugg chugg chugg of tractors, or maybe the French RAF  pilots who sometimes practice landing their helicopters on the small  airfield nearby. All of this we take for granted, immersed as we are on the needs of the day....Lester, to wrestle with the complicated work required of him, and me to try and do as much as I can to keep the farm and the house on track.

It is easy to get mentally bogged down, but it is the same for all of us, for all those folk on the internet conferences, who live in various parts of the globe, all of who are governed by the need to work and to play, none of them really doing what they would like to do, all ruled by the need to earn money, and then when the money is earned, the driving need to spend it. Such a cycle. Of going round and round. Of time marching on meanwhile.

And so, being Saturday, Lester and I had free time, so off to get the broken but now repaired lawnmower from the mechanical repair shop down the road, and then on to Plaisance to get replacement gas bottles. I, meanwhile, trundled myself and the old wheelbarrow along the river path to the fallen down oak tree which blocked the River Path last winter, and needs to be shifted. Lester managed to cut up the entire tree into portions so the fence could be repaired. With Lester working all the days long, it has been one of my chosen tasks to collect one barrow full of logs and bring them back to the Courtyard, the bigger logs to be kept under cover for the moment, but the smaller branches to be cut up and saved for kindling. We have quite a stash of kindling now, nine boxes in fact, plus a two cardboard boxes full. It is satisfying to look at those boxes and know that we shall not run out of kindling, which we did last year so had to buy commercial kindling, which is not the same as using our own bits of twigs and mini branches, because it is all neatly cut to size and is expensive.

Meanwhile, 'Freedom' kept rolling around in my head as I diddled away in the infant flower beds, feeling apologetic to the newly planted pansies, and the three trays of seedlings for my neglect of them yesterday when I retreated from the heat of the sun and had a couple of hours sleep instead, when I should have been keeping them watered. Seeing them desperately bent over with thirst later on in the day made me feel dreadfully guilty, and then seeing the pile of washing up and the unswept floors indoors trebled the guilt, so I ended the day feeling vaguely cross with myself..... not full on cross though, just niggles in the back of my mind that I had left things undone which I should have done, a state of mind which is often my companion of late.

Lester back with lawnmower and new gas bottles, so off we went to our local supermarket. It was lunch time, but no 'paid for' lunch for us today, just a cup of coffee and a bun each, and then off round the shop we went. Normal things bought, no fancy goods, just basics, plus a bigger wood saw (with spare blades) for me, and an 'on offer' trolley so Lester can have help hauling the large bags of animal grain to the storage bins in the Tall Barn.

On the way back home, thinking about 'Freedom' again, and I came to realise that Lester and I do have freedom despite his working hours, and my efforts to look after the farm as well as the house, because we are free souls. We live in a quiet part of France, are both working quietly at home without having to deal with offices full of people who we may or may not get on with, that Lester's daily commute to and fro work is from bedroom to Half Barn via the Main Field to give the sheep and cows their breakfast, that I do not have a commute at all but am free to choose what I spend my time doing and where I do it, that we make our own amusement and do not rely on others to amuse us, that to have lots of money would not make us happier, but would instead curtail our freedom because then we would get lazy, and that would confine us rather than make life the stimulating place that it is.

To count our blessings, that is what having the word 'Freedom' posted into my head early this morning has helped us do today. We can all feel trapped one way or another, but by looking at what we do have in our lives releases that trapped feeling, unchaining the chains that bind us away from our hopes and dreams, making us free to look forward to all our tomorrows.

I am now off to see if my new wood saw will magically cut the logs I brought up from the River Path this morning without hardly effort from myself. Of course it won't! I know that! But I can smile at myself for thinking so! Sort of being my own best friend by giving myself a smile!

Bye for now,


tilly said...

To me you have the perfect lifestyle, being able to chose what you do each day and Lester working from home. The freedom of a simple life when so many see happiness and perfection in spending money they do not have, so tie themselves in to increasing financial knots.
I myself, am retired and have never felt the need to conform, so I have a very happy and satisfying life now.

Vera said...

TILLY, oh well done for finding the right balance in your life, as I know a lot of retired people who have not, and are not ever likely to be able to, find anywhere near a similar balance to you.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Ah Vera, so very well thought out and put.

The Modern Economy is a prison designed to sap the life and joy of our almost everything. Offices and cubicles and even retail spaces are (more often than not) merely cells where we spend our time doing things that, for the most part, do not significantly improve our lives (except in the form of paying for them) or often the lives of others.

I envy those who have been able to find the balance. Remarkably enough (and I think there is a hint of the answer here) I have seldom heard of a modern urban person reaching this balance. It is almost always those who have chosen simple lives, close to the land, and have largely dispensed in some or fashion with the modern economy.

minwks said...

A very nice post Vera.
We aspire to the simple life as well. We live within our means and receive pleasure from most things. It does not mean one doesn’t need to do all the practical things (like bringing in the wood) but I think these keep us flexible, strong and energized.
I imagine you doing your crochet in the winter warmed by the crackling Rayburn.
Enjoy these last days of warm weather....... do you collect walnuts down your way?

Coco said...

Good for you and the kindling! We also purchased 5k sacks last winter and I noticed that it´s now doubled in price for 3k boxes.

I do sometimes get discouraged because there´s always something that doesn´t get done, usually the housework in my case. And the list of things to get to just gets longer and longer. But you´re right that we do have the freedom to set our own priorities, so that´s something.

Off to do more watering, which will create more weeds, which will require hoeing...

northsider said...

Satisfaction and contentment always resonates through your posts Vera.

Mama Pea said...

Such a wise woman you are! Yes, we do have so much more freedom living this type of life, but also we have earned it, I do think. Getting to this place in life when we have (pretty darn close to) all the things money could buy is wonderful. Papa Pea and I have been talking about this a lot lately.

I came across a quote yesterday that relates directly to this current autumn season, but it really resonated with me: Autumn is the season to find contentment at home by paying attention to what we already have.

Vera said...

TOIRDHEALBHEACH BEUCAIL, we are increasingly moving away from the demands of the modern world, and what I find quite troubling is that I am finding myself increasingly on the edge of the the social groups of people around me as they remain stuck fast in their habit of living the lifestyles they have grown accustomed to life long. I find myself treasuring the life we are living, although others tend not to be able to understand us as a result!

JANINE, Nice to know that you are living the simple way of life as well, ..... and yes, we have walnuts, but we do not harvest them because the walnut trees are in inaccessible places!

COCO, my house is desperately needing my attention as well, and my lists also seem to be growing, but not to worry, I love being outside and am treasuring the time spent doing the farm work. I shall catch up indoors once the weather gets cold and wet.......

Vera said...

NORTHSIDER DAVE, thank you, ....... it takes effort to get into a good state of mind but it is always worth it.

MAMA PEA, you are also a wise woman! Comes with age I think, and living off the land.

Rhodesia said...

Lovely post and yes we also appreciate our freedom. Take care Diane

Vera said...

DIANE, it is a lovely feeling, freedom, and I am glad you are in that state of being.

Athene said...

Most organisations seem to be stuck in a rut whereby employees have to be there between certain hours (whether they are busy or not). I often put in extra hours when I was working full time, but there were other times when I could easily have left halfway through the day but that would not of been acceptable. We don't seem to be able to see any other way of structuring work.

I gave up full-time work three years ago, and now enjoy working from home part-time - with much less money, but the freedom is invaluable. I plan the day as I wanted to go, take advantage of sunshine or showers, and have never been happier. I think you and Lester have found contentment, and that is something you can't put a price on.

Vera said...

ATHENE, it takes courage to step outside the routine of working in an office but once done, as you say, the freedom is priceless. Lester still has to work long hours but at least he is at home and not confined to the office environment. Working part time would be better but that is not allowable at the moment, is hoped that this will happen in the future.

Trading a lower wage for more freedom of self, ......well done you!

Jean said...

We also feel freer than ever before, with no work ties, no great urge to go out and buy anything or do anything much other than get through each day with a degree of contentment.
My twenty year old niece said to me the other day, rather accusingly, "we millennials will never be able to afford our own homes" and she's probably right. She doesn't have freedom. Millennials are tied to their mobile phone contract, their Sky TV contract, their need for fancy coffee, their brand new leased car, etc, etc. I feel sorry for millennials, they're trapped in a world that did not exist when we were their age. The pressures on them to conform are much greater and they can't see beyond it. I only hope that one day they will see that most of what they have is not worth the designer labels it's written on, before it's too late and too many retail giants have dined out on the fruits of their enslavement.

Vera said...

JEAN, what wise are right, and I am glad that I was born when I was (1947), when the world was slower and the demands on us were far less complicated.