People

The home we live in is small. It’s a rancher style house with a crawl space for a basement and everything exists on the one floor. But there’s only the two of us and a small dog so there’s no need for a whole lot of room and we’re comfortable with the space we’ve got. Our house sits in the mountains overlooking a lake and we love living there. The deck has a marvelous view and we sit there in the afternoons or the long evenings watching the sun go down and never wish to be anywhere else.

            It’s been five years now and we’ve shrugged off the last vestiges of city living and our lives have become chain saws, a pick up truck, a wood stove and the laid back feel of a rural lifestyle. When the car doesn’t move in three or four days it doesn’t seem odd at all. We save a lot of money by not being in town. We hear a lot more music, read a lot more books and eat a whole lot healthier. All things considered, it’s a wonderful lifestyle.

            There are times when we don’t see another person for days. There are long stretches sometimes when the only outside contact we have are telephone calls and emails. But we love that.  My wife gets down to her art, I get a lot of writing done and we don’t miss the whirl of a city social life. We actually spend seven days a week together and if not for the sixty some feet that separates our work areas we’d be together every waking moment.

            But there are times when we need face time with real folks and not just their voices or their typing. We’ve been blessed to create a wide circle of awesome people that we love to share time with and when we get together it’s always magical. Sometimes they come for dinner or a hike in the mountains. It seems like this house and this setting makes for good visiting and we look forward to having people over as often as we can.

            So every month we host a large social gathering. It starts with a potluck dinner that we never have a plan for that always turns out magnificent. Some of those spread have been awesome and we’re reminded how sacred a thing the act of breaking bread together really is. The energy around those means is wonderful.

Once the meal is over and the dishes cleared we sit around the living room and take turns singing a song, telling a story, reading something we’ve written or something we’ve read that touched us or sharing a hobby or music on a CD.  Every month the gathering seems to take care of itself and in the almost two years we’ve been doing it we’ve built a solid community from folks who might not have met each other any other way. The feeling is of old-time, rustic, simple pleasures of food, story, and music.

            Those evening tend to just fly by. Before we realize it’s dark outside, the kids are sleepy and we say our goodbyes at the door. Those nights are filled with a particular magic – the magic of friends sharing time in an old-fashioned, non-electronic way. We forget how easily we get trapped by technology and it is incredible how easy it is to shut off the cell phone, leave the TV off and just look at the people you share time with, hear them, know them, come to love them more. With an entire evening devoid of technology or even electricity we’re transported to a more charming time we all crave.

            That’s important. We get so used to speed in everything. We get used to typing, texting, faxing or having cryptic cell phone chats where no one really says anything. But those gatherings remind us all of the joy we carry within us no matter our background for the sound of a human voice talking or singing as the night falls. Candles burn, bellies are filled and we hear better removed from all distractions. To have hours to sit quietly and share experiences or things that touch us is incredibly enriching.

            That’s a big word – enriching. It means to make more valuable and people do that. People bring energy into a home. They bring spirit. Our little home in the mountains is filled once a month and we are made more by the presence of all that energy. When they leave us the idea of our friends stays with us for days and if there are times when we find ourselves craving companionship we only need to think of the gathering of friends and we’re a lot less lonely here. Try it sometime. Your home will be enriched too.

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About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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