Why You Think Going Off the Grid to Live and Play in the Woods Might not be such a Bad Idea

by | Apr 7, 2020 | CNF, Issue Fourteen

Reason 1: Even before the notion reached consciousness, you were moved by forces old and new

•   You might be an artist, and Art takes nature as a model—Aristotle.

•   Directly out the door, private lights and rustlings and textures to tickle all your receptors.

•   Dear future generations: Please accept our apologies. We were rolling drunk on petroleum—Kurt Vonnegut.

•   It’s cool in the woods. For instance: I frequently tramped eight or ten miles through the deepest snow to keep an appointment with a beech tree, or a yellow birch, or an old acquaintance among the pines—Henry David Thoreau.

•   I never saw a discontented tree—John Muir.

•   Impressionist sunsets, mute snow, a thousand shades of tree bark, and testament to the timeless evolutionary struggle of all life to thrive by fitting in somewhere.

•   You are one of the forces of nature—Jules Michelet.

•   You think about going off into the woods as an environmentalist’s version of boarding the finest ship to sail the world.

•   “Lots of people talk to animals,” said Pooh. “Not very many listen though.”

•   Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you—Frank Lloyd Wright.

•   One impulse from a vernal wood / May teach you more of man / Of moral evil and of good / Than all the sages can—William Wordsworth

Reason 2: You weighed several considerations crying out for more thought

•   Off-grid sounds okay, but what, exactly, is that grid thing again?

•   People can live on beans and sunshine, can’t they?

•   If by “living in the woods,” the idea includes Craftsman-style architecture with Stickley furnishings and a sliding-glass wall opening to a heated infinity pool reflecting a lake view with snow-capped peaks in the distance, then maybe it would do for a while.

•   I could have a horsey to play with then, couldn’t I?

•   Lumberjacks. Like, wasn’t that kidnap–sleigh-ride–avalanche scene in the movie, “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” just the most romantic thing ever?

•   Survivalist daydreams of post-apocalyptic berries, fresh off the bush, then chopping some aromatic wood for heat, or, as they say: Nature is harmony in discord—Horace.

•   You really like mushrooms.

•   You’ve read not once but several times how it’s better not to wash denim jeans, and maybe the same thing applies to human skin, or at least it wouldn’t bother you so much not to bathe more often than once a month. Plus, you don’t have much sense of smell anyway.

•   A dialectic between leftist diaspora literature and environmental terrorism reinforced by white-male-dominated, corporate greed mirrors the ongoing misrepresentation of contemporary pluralism embodied by so-called “nature.”

•   This jerk of a person at the office said your butt looks like a WWII battleship, and Marge actually laughed out loud.

•   You think you have an open mind and can stand anything so long as there’s a nail salon within a ten-minute drive.

•   Dreaming in the wee hours about bullets triggers nocturnal emissions.

Reason 3: You feel it’s important to mull over a couple of additional issues that are marginally relevant

•   The difference between a gun and a tree is a difference of tempo. A tree explodes every spring—Ezra Pound.

•   You can’t bear to say his name aloud (45’s that is), but there is magic in distance, relief in switching context, comfort in silence.

•   Solar, baby!

Reason 4: Ultimately, it’s all rather bewildering because …

•   Question. A tree’s a tree; how many more do you need to look at?—Ronald Reagan. Answer. Every leaf speaks bliss to me—Emily Bronte.

•   Edgar Allen Poe thought the divine is revealed when cause and effect are reversible.

•   GLBT people want to turn my children gay.

•   No, GLBT people don’t want to turn anybody’s children gay.

•   Zero robo-calls.

•   I can now envision a search for answers, which are at the same time questions, which have been answered by objects that initially played the role of the question—René Magritte.

Reason 5: At last, you decide the best response to the original question is obvious, isn’t it?

•   All life is suffering—loosely (and somewhat inaccurately) translated from the Buddha—so why not have some fun?


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