Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fed Up

My old friend Erin used to get mightily cheesed off at the number of young women of his acquaintance who'd go all wide eyed and say "like, what I really want to do is live in the woods. In a cabin".
"No, you don't" he'd say. "You really, really don't".
And then he'd explain at length exactly what living in a cabin in the woods entails. It turned out they probably, all things considered, didn't want to live in the woods at all.

Yes there's literary precedent for the cabin-in-the-woods thing. Give yourself the solitary outdoors life to find the answer to big questions about the human condition. Find out how to live. Suffer privation and hardship (you would not believe how much a bit of suffering turns a fellow's witterings into persuasive testimony: it's a classic 19th century move. Read those field notes, and between the lines, you'll see "these observations are true, because oh, how I suffered in getting them).

I am being mean to Thoreau, and I don't mean to be. Walden rocks. (I went to Walden Pond once. It took the edge off the book, rather: like a Helen Hanff nut making a pilgrimage to 84 Charing Cross Road and discovering it's no longer a bookshop run by Anthony Hopkins, but an All Bar One)

There is no reason for this post other than just to say, ladies and gentlemen, this evening, I would like very much to go and live in the woods. Not because I want to find big answers to big questions, or because I'm feeling terribly 19th century and transcendental. But because right now, I have had it up to here with here.

3 comments:

prairie mary said...

It doesn't seem fair that when a person posts something "pretty" and "nice," everyone comments and applauds. But when one has a full-on fed-up rage and tantrum, no one says one single thing.

So I'll say, "Kick 'em, Pluv! Bite 'em! Call 'em names!"

Tomorrow is another day.

I've been to Walden, too. When I was there-- 1953, I think -- one end was cement, a curb, so people could swim off it. In 1993 when I was working for geo-engineers and reading all their magazines at lunch break, I read about how the many visitors were wearing out the pond and how some clever geo-engineers used palm coir and other structural but vegetal stuff to reinforce the edges. I told about it on an environmental list serv. Boy, did people get mad! They bit, they kicked, they called me names.

But it was true. It was real. And I guess they did save Walden Pond.

Thoreau. What about the part where he took his dirty clothes over home for his mom to wash and picked up a bag of cookies while he was there? He only stayed out in that cabin a year or so.

I've been in this little house for 8 years now, wash my own clothes, can't eat cookies anymore, and have all the solitude I can handle. Not counting the cats. So I enjoyed sharing your fed-upness.

Prairie Mary

Heidi the Hick said...

Okay, I have FANTASIES about living in a cabin in the woods. I even thought it would be great to birth my babies out there where nobody would care if I screamed my whiny head off!

Whenever I get going on the Cabin in the Woods fantasy though, I end up installing a pump for water and a composting toilet and a gravity shower and a solar panel and then I just sort of give up and say screw it I'll stay home and ignore my neighbours.

I do wonder sometimes though if I'd write better in my Imaginary Cabin in the Woods. Maybe not.

Just have to say though, I'm pretty sure i've seen photos of your friend Erin and if I'm right about that, it's understandable that girls go all blinky eyed and start babbling about remote log cabins around him...just saying...

pluvialis said...

Yeah, Thoreau and the cookies. It reminds me of a talk I saw a few years ago about environmentalists' dwelling places. There was Arne Naess' bonkers mountain shack that you could only reach by helicopter or by brachiating, basically. And then of course there was Leopold's little shack in Sand County. The iconic environmentalists' house in the woods. And then! Then! the speaker showed a slide of Leopold's Huuuuuuuge and beautiful house, standing with its immaculate lawns and flowerbeds, and this made me so happy. I liked that despite all his time in the shack, he had a nice big shiny house to go back to when it got cold. This might make me morally suspect, but hey ho.

Heidi: Erin's resemblance to Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride has been much remarked on. These days he is happy and no longer single, hooray, and oh, dear, I really ought to email him. I have been a hopeless, hopeless, hopeless correspondent. Which is becoming rather a theme in my life at the moment...