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Possumhaw: Use it or lose it


Shannon Bardwell



"Never go to excess but let moderation be your guide." 


-- Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC-43 BC) 




It was another one of those dreamy days with the sun and wind coming through the leaves and causing a dancing pattern across the tile floor. The temperature was 50 degrees, heralding the coming of fall. Harry, the cat, curled up on a table near the window. He knows he's not allowed on the table when we have company. Wilhelmina, the other cat, was sleeping on the ottoman. She's allowed to do that anytime, as long as she doesn't chew on the serape blanket. It's no wonder they were sleeping as Brahms' Lullaby and Beethoven's "Fur Elise" was playing in the background. Who wouldn't feel dreamy?  


I was spending a few hours looking over my favorite minimalist and sustainability websites in an effort to write about them. Sam and I are moving in that direction. It may be that we simply do not want to spend time taking care of all this stuff. Sam was probably already more a minimalist in some ways than I was. It wasn't really that he owned less, he just didn't care much about what he did own. I'm not sure Sam has purchased a thread of clothing since his high school days. He gets lots of clothing gifts, some from me. I buy him camouflage pants for his birthday every year because he loves them and wears them literally to holes. He was so excited recently when I cut off the legs below the knees from a holey pair and attached them to the worn-out parts above the knee. A couple of times when I suggested he downsize his closet he grabbed an armful of shirts and said, "I don't need these."  


It takes a little longer for me. I minimize by season. So now I'm looking through last year's fall and winter things. I told Sam I tried on my coats and he thought that was so funny. However, when trying them on and looking in the mirror, my classic gray wool coat seemed to be sticking up around my ears. I pinched the shoulder to see if that was really me, but it was foam. I was a little chagrined I had worn the coat last year and the year before that, in fact maybe since "Knot's Landing" was on TV. I'll be passing it on and not replacing it since I have other coats. That's the minimizing part.  


Minimizing and sustainability run through other areas of our daily lives as well. I took a Life Enrichment Course at The W to learn about being a "Healthy Self" and now use three essential oils for health and beauty products. We recycle paper, all paper, and any plastics. I take my own bags to the grocery store. I bought a boar-bristle brush with a wooden handle (natural and BOGOF.) I buy fewer books and use the library where I just reserved "Zero Waste Home," by Bea Johnson. Not perfect, not even close, but the whole process has made me more grateful and appreciative of what I have. More is just more.  



Shannon Rule Bardwell is a Southern writer living quietly in the Prairie.


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