Simplicity: Rhythms

Simplicity > Rythms

If Harmony is my abbey then stability, sustainability, and simplicity are my vows. — Me

I define simplicity, in the context of my vows, as the quality of being plain, beautiful, and slow. It means a life where I am living in a rhythm with the seasons and daily rhythms of prayer, work, reading, and rest. It means a life where I am not fatigued with so many choices. It means a life where I have identified the essentials and eliminated the rest. In the words of Austen Farrer, “Simplify your life, do fewer things, and do them well.”

Living a Life in rhythm with the seasons — Being privileged to stay home and tend the farm, animals, and home means that I have freedom to tailor my year to the seasons with ease. Our seasons look more like Celtic seasons — the solstices and equinoxes are more the center of the season rather than the start of the season — and generally mark times of transition. The Autumn Equinox has passed. The six weeks following the equinox means the garden harvest is winding down. It is time to think about cleaning up the garden beds, mulching the bare soil, cleaning the seed starting pots and garden tools, and winterizing the rabbit hutch and the chicken ark. It is time to visit a local orchard and get our yearly supply of apples. By November 1, we will have switched to checking on the food we have stored so that we can use the things that aren’t keeping well. We’ll be busy in the woods carrying sticks back to the house for kindling. Meals will be more soups and stews and less salads and raw foods. Winter, for us, starts when laundry can no longer be dried on the clothesline, sometime in November, lasts through December, January, and much of February. We are hunkered down with blankets, candles, and fires. March 1 brings a flurry of garden preparations: seeds must be checked and reordered if I wasn’t able to save enough, tools must be checked and sharpened, seed starting soil must be sterilized and put into pots. The Spring Equinox is when I start some seeds in pots under a makeshift greenhouse. April 1 is the real start of the gardening year because greens and brassicas can go out in the garden. Peas too, as soon as it is mild enough. May, June, July, August, September, and October are all the furious rush of gardening season. I try to keep the Solstices and Equinoxes and the Quartering of the Year days as mini-holidays. Days to remember, days to observe, and days to be grateful for a chance to step outside of the normal work.

Daily Rhythms of Prayer, Work, Reading and Rest— My daily life follows a rhythm. I move from task to task, alternating between physical and mental work. I rise before the sun, do some stretches, recite my morning prayers, and then head out for a walk. Breakfast follows the walk, as does a tour of the house and the yard/garden/orchard as I assess what needs to be done that day. In the warm months, the outside work gets done first, in the cool months the inside work gets done first. That work is followed by Welsh time. Lunch follows along with strength exercises, the indoor/outdoor work gets done, and then some time reading non-fiction, and then fiction and then some more Welsh. Dinner time is followed by Evening prayers, a short spurt of evening tidy up, a short walk, and then more time reading or chatting with family. I try not to use lights in the evening so that my body is ready for sleep. I am early to bed, with an audiobook, and early to rise.

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