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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Toning down technology

Think of how dependent we are upon technology. And then think of where you would rather not be, when the power goes out. Most places have generator back-up power but what if, for example, you were up on the highest point of a chair lift, suspended over a deep valley in the mountains? Yikes. I would not do well with that one. That was the first thing that popped into my head when the power went out at Walmart on Saturday. Our friendly cashier, Sue, had just rung through my $350 order and I had my card in the machine when the lights went down. We were stranded. Held hostage for a few minutes by the electricity fairies. But at least we were not on a chair lift, suspended over a deep valley.
I’m not sure what we would have done if the power had not returned. As it was, we had to unbag and re-scan each item all over again.
The power went out for close to 100,000 hydro customers Christmas Eve. We weren’t among them, but we have had our power go out before while awaiting 20 people for a regular Sunday dinner. I wanted to cancel but the Farmer just considered it a challenge. We lit candles and he cooked our dinner on the bbq.
Over the holidays we gathered the women and children together for a very special photo session. With the arrival of Leti, my granddaughter, we now have five generations. My grandmother, Victoria, is 100. Her daughter, my mother Maureen, is 71. I am 47, my daughter Anastasia is 24, the same age my mother was when she had me. Leti is just a month old. I look at the five faces in that photograph and I think about how different life is for each of us.
My grandmother grew up on a farm in Quebec. She had five children: four boys and a girl, my mother. Grandma’s marriage ended in the 1950’s, when she was in her late 30’s. I can just imagine the stress she went through, working to make ends meet, raising five kids on her own. The struggles in her life only rounded out her character. She has a great sense of humour, a quick Irish temper, and a buoyant, optimistic spirit. I think I inherited that from her, at least, if not her tenacity.
My mother has her mother’s boundless energy. She too sings from morning to night, and hurries to get things done effectively and efficiently. I have never seen her being lazy. She doesn’t even slow down enough to get sick. She is always doing at least two things at once. If she is watching television, she is also folding laundry. When we were young she always worked outside the home, returning after a full day in the office to whip something up in the kitchen and get dinner on the table by 6.
I always have at least two things on the go: a project / course / book as well as my day job. I’ve been a single mom for a time as well so I understand the value of a dollar and I am constantly worried there won’t be enough. It’s a hard feeling to shake. I value the things money can’t buy far more, however, and I thank the women in my life for that. I’m trying to remember not to let the distractions of technology get in the way of enjoying the people around me. I need to focus more, and to live in the moment. My husband has that gift mastered, and I do well to follow his lead.
Anastasia is not your typical twenty-four-year-old. She has no Facebook profile; she prefers to spend her time out of doors with her four dogs, her husband and now, her baby daughter. It will be fun to watch as the new Anastasia emerges. The Annie that is raising a child.

I look at this tiny new baby, Leti, and wonder what life will be like by the time she is ready to be a mom. How important will technology be for us then, or will we have learned to put electronic devices in the background where they belong? Maybe by the time Leti is an adult, we will be growing their own food and finding alternative ways of travel that do not pollute the earth. Or maybe that will take another generation, or two. 

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