• Kristen Timchak

Elemental Life

I live far out of town. I mean really far. Like at the end of a bumpy four mile dirt road, at the edge of the river canyon kind of far. No power lines on my road, we all have solar panels, and I need to run a generator when I vaccum, kind of far. The house lies on the edge of wildness and I feel like we are the visitors here, to this home of foxes, bobcats, mountain lions and bears. There are obvious challenges to living this far out, and blessings that only one who loves the quiet and solitude of nature can understand.

We were thinking about moving for awhile, but recently decided to stay for at least another year. This decision has me pondering the beauty of living here as well as what it means to live off grid. I grew up in suburbia and never questioned where my water, heat and electricity came from- it was just there at the flick of a switch or the turn of a faucet. There was a certain disconnect from the basic elements of life that I took for granted. My life is still very comfortable, I still flick a switch or turn a faucet to take care of my basic needs, but the energy for the lights comes from the sun (except for when we use the generator), and I am constantly monitoring the amount of energy our home is using. Our water is on a well, and there is plenty but in this drought stricken area, I think about it. I can see the large tank that holds the water form the well and have a visual of how much water we have at any given time. Our heat comes from wood, and I can see our woodpile dwindle as we move through the colder days of winter. I don't think one way of living is better or worse.

As an Ayurvedic Practitioner and always thinking about elements, I appreciate the direct connection my life has to these elements. I can see the principles of agni (the inner fires of our bodies, specifically digestion) as I build the fire in the morning to heat our home. When the winds blow through the river canyon at night, I feel the direct effects of Vata on my sleep. I can feel Pitta in the sun's energy as our solar batteries fill with energy and our house is heated as the sun pours through the many windows. Right now, as I write this, it has been raining for days and I walk through the muddy Kapha earth every time I leave my house. No matter where we live we can find our connection to the elements, they make up our world. I don't think I will always live this far out, but for now I am observing and appreciating this wild, elemental life.

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