Little House in the Big Woods has been one of my favourite books for more than 40 years. The author, Laura Ingalls, was the middle child in a family that lived quite a self-sufficient life in the wilderness of Wisconsin in the 19th century. They grew or hunted their food, sewed their own clothes, chopped wood, hauled water…but every Sunday they stopped. The Sabbath was a day of rest – and sometimes a day of boredom for little Laura, if I remember correctly – but the principle is interesting. Once a week, you don’t cook or clean or fix cars or whatever you usually do. Once a week, you take a break.
This year, organizers have proposed an expanded Buy-Nothing Day on November 28. Not only do they want us to refrain from shopping, they want us to abstain from any kind of consumption, including a “Ramadan-like fast.”
I won’t be giving up food any time soon, even for one of the shortest days of the year, especially since I don’t understand the organizers’ goal for that particular suggestion.
However, I’ll give some of the other ideas my best shot. I’m not a big shopper, so my absence is not going to cause a blip at Wal-Mart or even my local craft fairs, but it might teach me something.
My intention next Saturday is to do no shopping (easy), stay out of the car (easy), and use no electricity (no email? That’s harder). I’ll walk, ride my bike, read near a window. Try to coerce my husband into a game of backgammon. I will use my stove (gas, though electric sparker) and if it’s cold I’ll turn on my gas fireplace (ditto).
This looks like very do-able. After all, I don’t shop much anyway and I can do without my computer for one day.
Just one day.