“I suppose I worry you’ll grow bored wi’ it here—in time.”
I paused before answering, though it wasn’t something I hadn’t thought about.
“In time,” I said carefully. “Jamie—I’ve seen a lot of things in my life, and been in a lot of places. Where I came from—there were things there that I miss sometimes. I’d like to ride a London omnibus again, or pick up a telephone and talk to someone far away. I’d like to turn a tap, and have hot water, not carry it from the well and heat it in a cauldron.
I’d like all that—but I don’t need it. As for a grand life, I didn’t want it when I had it. Nice clothes are all very well, but if gossip and scheming and worry and silly parties and tiny rules of etiquette go with them … no. I’d as soon live in my shift and say what I like.”
He laughed at that, and I squeezed his arm once more.
“As for the work … there’s work for me here.”
I glanced down into the basket of herbs and medicines on my arm. “I can be useful."
Excerpt From: Diana Gabaldon. “Dragonfly in Amber.”
Here I sit, in a lovely coffee store connected to the entire world by the push of my wifi button. I live in the 21st century and I have every bit of technology that I need. I'm a woman who was the President of a prominent gift business for over 30 years, so I do know my way around the world of commerce. I have clean water. I have plenty of food. I have a bed that moves up and down at the press of a button. I have powerful computers that have connected me to dozens of readers all over the globe and I have a deep and treasured relatedness with people that I will never meet in person but know very well. I wouldn't give that up for anything and yet....
Lately I spend my days in my herb gardens and I've spent decades learning to harvest, tincture herbs and promote healing with plants and other earth energies. My favorite way of seeing the world is on horseback or on foot. I've spent my life so far with a man who is more moved by love of me, our son and our family than he is by anything else except for his guitars, piano and the Celtic music that he loves. I had a dream when we met, of winding his body in a beautiful silk cloth and anointing it with precious oils from many many centuries ago. It was a joyful dream and not at all sad. Shortly after that I had another dream, of standing on a craggy stone balcony in another lifetime with him and seeing the Beltane fires burning joyfully in the hay fields. That dream has never left me and that was when I knew for certain that I'd met the man who is my soulmate, the twin ray for all of my life. He moves through this crazy new world with the ease of a sage but he also knows how to milk a cow and "Strip the Willow". He owns a kilt and he is perfect for me. I love that even blindfolded I'd know him by his touch and his scent.....
I dream of a world where we are so connected to the earth and each other again and I'm finally beginning to see it appearing, even among all of the madness. There are farmers markets on every corner where we gather together to buy our fresh foods for the coming week. I can't walk into a bar without being offered the latest craft beer or mead, in fact I've even begun to make my own beer and cheese again because everything is available for me to do so. We knit and sew and weave our own textiles. We're keeping chickens and bees. We make candles, soaps and perfumes. Urban backyard gardens have sprung up everywhere and so have community gardens. Every city that I've been to recently has it's own delightful distillery. What's next? Hopefully a comeback of the community bread and stew oven? And why not? One fabulous by-product of the last 11 years of the recession is that many of us are cooking again. Homecooking is a delightful pastime, not something to be disparaged. My phone and more often lately my email is pinging constantly with questions about herbalism, Reiki and natural healing. It seems that we are clammering for something real, older knowledge that is tried and true. The old ways may be slower, but they work and there is no prescription that can heal better for most than the food that you put on your fork and the water that you pour into your glass.
I sometimes read the news and I worry, will we save ourselves in time? Will we be able to survive our descent into the madness that the industrial revolution ushered in over a century ago?
I think that as long as there is music to dance to and love to be made, there is hope.
Funny thing is, even when surrounded by all of this technology I still hear the rhythms of the Bodhrans and the voice of the fiddle singing to me of the old ways that are calling me home. Perhaps, I too can be useful....