Monday, August 23, 2010

The Extreme Joy of Non-Ownership

Okay. This post is kinda-sorta about what I promised last time I wouldn't talk about for months. But only kinda-sorta, all right?

What I have relearned (I believed I already knew it) is that one need not own something in order for it to be theirs. Certainly not in order for them to enjoy it, either.

The neighborhoods I loved to stroll through in our previous town definitely did not belong to me, yet they were mine. Mine to walk through for ideas and inspiration and exercise, of course. But I didn't have to pay and care for all those lawns and flowers and 1920's houses--oh my, no! They were just there for me to enjoy with my eyes and heart.

The country drives Tom and I still take, all those 1800's farms we drive past, they are there for us to appreciate, to glean some ideas and to zip us back in Time for a few moments. But all the work and money it requires to keep up all those places! Thank-goodness, that's for someone else.

The park I used to drive to in our previous town and all its trees and lawns and the old brick-walled memorial swimming pool--mine to savor, but not Mine-All-Mine as in ownership. Just mine to enjoy, to sit upon the lawn and read and nibble lunch, but not to mow and trim and water and clean. Heavens, no.

The books I read about people who own(ed) country acres or gorgeous homes in old cities--how fun to read about all their adventures, but how relaxing for me to just read, not do all their work and upkeep.

Even my favorite blog of them all, Cold Antler Farm--Jenna's farm is hers, but oh how I love checking-in each morning to read about her adventures, fun ones and hard, difficult ones. I am reaping smiles and thoughts and inspirations from all the work and effort Jenna is putting into her new farm and its animals and land. But her farm in no way belongs to me.

Yet, oh! How I enjoy living vicariously there.

View Life this way and each of us is extremely wealthy. And may I remember this lesson this time. May I never, ever forget.

1 comment:

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

You are so right about this, Debra. Living near a National Park has made me grateful that some of the areas I love are protected, but others are not, and I don't own them, and enjoy them all the time....

Another idea that I read about long ago in a book about Japanese garden design is "the borrowed landscape". Now borrowed landscape has to be something you see from your own yard, but it's a similar idea. You don't own it, but you can even plan your whole garden around a feature you see, like a mountain or stream or beautiful tree.