One of the biggest challenges to winter camping, or even just prolonged recreation in sub-zero temperatures, is the strain it puts on our bodies. My mandatory daily chores are cutting and hauling wood for my fire, and then keeping it going. Every couple days I haul 2 seven gallon buckets of water from Tim's on my cart or a sled. I drag it into my kitchen and once inside I pour portions of it into my stove pans and use the rest to top off my drinking/freshwater container. I dip water pitchers in these to fill my sink pans and my coffepot, etc. (and I forgot to list water pitchers as very essential tools in my supply list I posted here earlier this month). I haul my dirty sink water outside in an old 5 gallon metal milking can for my "drain." Then my honey bucket has to be dumped in the outhouse about 50 yards away, as often as needed. (I'm using an old Army cooler this winter and with plastic bags inside it's a heck of a lot easier to keep it clean.) Then there's the dogs' daily upkeep, which includes soaking their feed in a bucket of hot water first and delivering it to them once it's warm. (In the summer I fill their water cans every day but in the winter it freezes before they can drink it.)
The reason I live this way is so that I can research and write full time. Lately I've been so cold, tired and wore out after doing just a couple things that I didn't have the energy left to do much ACL work. I was starting to have a weird numbness on my lower left side and in both my hands. I began to wonder if I hadn't had a slight stroke or something. My back has been killing me for months even though I am fairly strong for my size and used to lifting with my legs. Every day it's been progressively harder to get up and start my daily routine all over again. I try to stretch and dance a little every day, and that used to be enough. I also lose my appetite when I'm alone and some days I totally forget to eat unless there's easy muchies at hand. I've been living in tents on and off since January 2002. I've been thinking that maybe I'm getting too old for this rural camping lifestyle I chose and wondering what it will take for me to readapt to living in an urban ghetto and working full time for pay so I could afford rent on a "real" place.
I've also been getting slammed lately for not talking or writing about my "faith." The fact that I don't call Jesus the "king" and I call the Talmud a foreign concept that has no place in American politics is all making the religious people nervous. One lady at Constance's blog wondered if I "pray" before I write. Some are saying that they cannot trust me as a source of information because I don't claim a spiritual existence that jives with their concept of God. I tried to explain it once in an article but apparently it didn't really explain much about what I "believe."
The idea that I have to preach salvation, follow a book I don't trust or go to a church with people I don't respect to "prove" I have a spiritual side is pretty amazing to me. My relationship with my creator is in everything I think and do. I believe our thoughts and deeds are what brings us into harmony with the universe. I don' trust the New Age concepts of God any more than I trust a book written by Caballists. I'm not seeking a spiritual path that can be found in any book. I don't want to be a preacher and I don't want to be preached to. But I DO pray, all the time to whatever good source motivated me to follow my own path. I ask for daily guidance, I do an inventory of my actions and thoughts and deeds, and occassionally I just cry for the people suffering in the religious wars and beg for their protection. I don't have a "name" for my creator, all I know is I have one who expects me to do my best every day to overcome my flaws and show up in life and do whatever is put before me. I don't lie, I don't cheat, I don't steal, I don't get welfare or food stamps, I don't maim or murder or covet other people's things. And every time I hit a low point, when I'm ready to quit the ACL and let the world figure out communitarianism without my assistance, something wonderful and right happens to set me back on track.
This time it came in the form of a new technology called the Barefoot Revolution.
I've been sleeping on my donated Earthing pad www.livingearthed.comnow for the past five nights, ever since I learned the snow would work as a grounding for it. I pulled back the wall insulation by my bed and shoved the rod out into the snowbank. And now, I'm so grateful, I'm sleeping so much better and the numbness is gone from my left side and hands. My back barely hurts, my stamia is increasing and I've been doing a lot more every day (including new research and videos!). I feel so good one of my friends asked me during a phone conversation two days ago why I was so peppy and cheerful. When I told him I'm recconecting with the earth's natural electrons he understood it immediately and said "yeah, I always feel better when I walk outside in my bare feet." (He also wants to order an Earthpad for himself now..heh.)
So I'd like to publically say thank-you to Barefoot Bob. Your generous donation is an answer to my prayers for better health and endurance. I'm guessing there may be an Iditarod musher or two who might want to try this on the trail next spring.