Not so long ago, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts fought to protect the forests west of the Cascades from timber companies with an insatiable appetite for profit. Land values declined. Communities dwindled. Today, if the rumors are true, people with an appetite for methamphetamine have moved in. Now, many outdoor enthusiasts think twice about visiting once popular trail heads.
We moved out of the bus a year ago because I got a job that included staff housing (yes, we do still own the bus). When Steve and I moved into this one-bedroom house in the woods, it felt like a spacious mansion, but it seems to get smaller by the month. I lived in a 175 ft school bus for two years! Why does having more always make me want more?
Sometimes I feel like a timber baron or a meth head.
I believe curbing the appetite for more takes hard work. The ancients called this work asceticism. Today, we might call it radical downsizing, dieting, detoxing, or choosing simplicity. However, these outward efforts often fail because of sickness in the core of our being.
“There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town, and they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one’s mind while living in a crowd, and it is possible for one who is a solitary to live in the crowd of his own thoughts.”
-Amma Syncletica, Desert Mother
The truth is, I love our home and our bus and someday I hope to learn that ever elusive secret of being content, “whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”