Journey to a sustainable future

Monday, June 18, 2012

What is necessary?

Columbines, Eastern Oregon, 2009
"If something is unnecessary to the composition, it weakens the composition." Jay Shafer
When I found that quotation within Little House on a Small Planet, I literally stopped reading.  I found it absolutely profound. 
It is so true, isn't it?  In big things, and in little things.  If all you want is a simple hamburger, then all the frilly things it could come with, like argula or carmelized onions or applewood bacon, take away from what you are truly after: a chunk of ground beef. 
If you all need is a place and space to live and relax with your family, then having 3 bathrooms and 2 guest bedrooms and a living room, family room, and den all take away from your experience of both relaxation, and of family togetherness.
Me and Lamby, 2009
Of course, everyone defines necessary differently.  I am not parting with my 3 mixing bowls, or my stuffed lamb.  My husband wouldn't consider giving away his table saw.  And our new tent is here to stay!
Still, there are many things that I never thought I could bear to part with that have been packed out the door, either to Craigslist, EBay, or Goodwill.  We just sold my clarinet on EBay.  I sold two of my pairs of jeans to a local consignment shop.  We have donated hundreds, and I do mean hundreds, of books to the local library.  My backpacking backpack's days are numbered. 
These things, because we had to store them, care for them, sort through them, and clean them, were detracting from our composition--the composition of our life.  The quality of our life, and how we want to spend our time. 
I'm not advocating a Spartan existence just so that you don't have to clean anything.  Though that does have serious appeal some days!  Just...think about the things you own that would honestly amke you less happy if you didn't own.  I hope the number is small.  I hope that we can all derive our satisfaction and our joy from our friends, our family, our Source, and our own selves, rather than our possessions.
Anthony Lakes, Oregon, 2009


  1. I agree..ots just stuff..when i decided to be a sahm..i knew i could do wothout more stuff. Ive been destuffing my fact im having a sale this weekend if the weather is nice.
    Well said Emily