I think what I love the most in the whole wide world is this. Early morning, still dark outside, to sit in front of the fireplace with Sigurd, bear pup, drinking coffee, slowly. Looking at the flames. The crack in the glass (there’s a crack in everything). Dark shadows. Ashes. Embers. The way he leans his head up against my shoulders. The silence. I love that. I love this. The smell of the fire burning, the sound of the cast iron expanding.
November is so rich in colours, the golden grass and the deep green of the forest, as the light slowly, slowly returns to the world the colours almost quiver. I watch it through my windows. Heavy wind today. It might snow.
Old man said: ‘Well, the interesting part is actually what you are going to write about now. So many stories out there about establishing something new, new projects, new stories, changes, changes, it’s always about the changes. But what is your life going to be like now that you already did all that? How does it feel? You should blog about that.’
I don’t mind taking advice from elders. It’s a new hobby of mine, actually. Too much wisdom is being thrown out with the bath water, too many babies.
We can’t go around forgetting what it took centuries to learn. On the practical level: how does one live without all of the luxuries? How does one use the resources? How to cook, how to grow, how to harvest and build. So much knowledge earned through stormy winters and hard work. We can’t just forget that.
We are not allowed to just forget that.
I’m not saying we should do everything as they did. Absolutely not. We can make it better, improve, adjust, innovate — that´s what humans do, but we can’t just forget that everything we have…. is something we have because people fought for it. Bled for it. Believed in it. Carry on the fire.
On the emotional level: why was it so essential for our forefathers to build a nation with a good welfare system, a security net?
I think it’s because they knew that we need each other. On a real practical and emotional level (that can’t be replaced by any system, we’ve learned that now).
Let’s not just forget.
As of lately I spend a lot of time listening to my elders.
THE SIMPLE LIFE OF SOLIDARITY
After I quit social media my whole way of thinking has changed. As have my reading habits. What kind of author doesn’t read any books? Well, me for one. I read social media instead. I dove right into it, head first. I wanted to read you. But somehow it all got corrupted, somehow the deep human need for connection and communication got distorted. We were bought and sold. We were manipulated. Social media has become a weapon and they took away that which could have saved us.
Makes me sad to think about.
I might be a weirdo living alone (with my family) in the forest. This might be because I’m an introvert or can’t cope with the stress of modern society, something like that, or maybe I’m angry. Like Thoreau was angry when he moved into the wild and wrote: ‘Most men live lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.’
Or Edward Abbey, a voice in the wilderness: ‘How to Overthrow the System: brew your own beer; kick in your Tee Vee; kill your own beef; build your own cabin and piss off the front porch whenever you bloody well feel like it.’
What I mean is: I might be weird and I might be angry about society (it’s an evil empire, run!) but you know why I write? Why I didn’t just turn my back on everything and engaged with ‘the simple life’, so pure, spiritual and whole?
Because I’m still into you.
I always was. Even Thoreau and Abbey were. We all were. Always.
CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME
I believe this to be the true challenge of our day and age. The age of individualism and egoism is over. We know this. We know we need to connect and communicate to solve the mess that we’re in. On the deepest human level. The collective soul. Aren’t we flock animals? After all? Don’t we realise that lately things have become seriously dangerous and we need to… rise?
What we need to do now is to shape these vague contours, articulate, tentatively, that which have dawned on us.
We. Need. Each. Other.
THE PROBLEM OF ESSENCE
Personally I’ve been reading a lot since I quit social media. Turns out that’s pretty social too. Another kind of social. And I need it. Man, I’ve been in dire need!
I’m a fast reader but for years I’ve been even more than fast, I’ve been in super speed turbo mode; too quick to even read a book to the end, short sentences, please! Get to the point already! How is this relevant for me? As for articles: could you please stop doing irrelevant intros? Bitesize. Shareable; does this reflect positively back on me if I share? As for the bloggers like me ‘how do I make people share?’
The very act of sharing has become the goal. Not the actual content. Which I suspect is taking the deep need for human connection maybe a bit too far. It’s the human connection more than the actual message that seems to be in focus. It sounds beautiful, only it’s not.
It makes us stupid when we connect without essence.
WHAT THE ELDERS SAY
We have all become so impatient.
That’s what the elders say. In my books. In my books.
They say that if you don’t take the time that it takes to change… nothing is going to change.
They say that things take time.
They say that beginning and end is the same. That time is not linear and that destruction and creation are interwoven.
That’s what they say.
And I’m guessing they have a point. We talk about change all the time as if we could somehow just materialise it without any costs. Without bleeding.
I don’t think we can. To reach out and connect with others, like I have done for instance with my book… it bloody well killed me. The elders say it’s supposed to be that way. So suck it up already and get back onto your high horse. The battleground of our day and age is called ‘time’. To put essence into it. To fill it with essence. To expand it. To give it.
So here’s what I think. I think true rebellion lies in taking back time. To take time. Make time.
We might have gone a bit overboard with the sharing and the connection — dosn´t mean that this is wrong, I don’t think it’s a solution to isolate or turn your back to everything, I truly don’t. To be absolute truthful I do think that’s kind of a cowardly or weak thing to do. So no. But to insist on some kind of essence. To keep on writing long blogposts without any (shareable snacksize) point. Blogs takes time you know, both to write and to read, it’s a whole universe you enter, not a quote.
Conection takes time. Real time.
To meet a lot. To read a lot. To comment, write long emails, insisting on content, if you need to be a troll then at least be a troll of content.
Wouldn’t that be worth something? Back in the old days I would write long letters to friends, now I think it’s a waste of time if I write to only one person, as if I could optimise my message, quantity over quality, capitalism in our heads! I want back the space between my braincells, I want the time it takes to inhale. Lots of people suffering from lack of time, it’s a disease. As if time was an element just like air, people can´t breathe anymore!
I’m going to write in length (about the time after the change). I’m going to read for hours. I’m going to take back my own time. Call it rebellion because it is.
Andrea Hejlskov is an author and speaker living off grid in the wild woods of Värmland, Sweden. Mother of four, doer of things. She is also a heathen. Read more on her blog: www.andreahejlskov.com