Cabin Life: Simplicity and Sabbatical

It’s now been 10 years since I left my one-room cabin in the woods.  For three years I lived a simpler life surrounded by forest and wild neighbors–the furry and feathered kind.

There were actually two cabins, one in Clinton and one in Freeland.  Both were on Whidbey Island not far from the Seattle area where I grew up.  Both used well-water and had compost toilets.  Candles and oil-lamps were the main light.

The first was on 45 acres with an organic farm.  My “board and room” was paid by a bit of work on the farm, but mainly by cutting a series of trails in the thick woods.  This led to my attempt to start a one-man business enterprise I called “Pathfinder” (the “Mindful Machete Man”).  After a few brief jobs it became clear that most property owners opted for bringing in the bulldozers and chain saws rather than hire me to gently clear paths through the mossy woods.

The second cabin I painted forest green and enjoyed the warmth and smell of a nice woodstove.  “Back to Nature” was a part of it, but mostly solitude and quiet.

In these tiny dwellings I wrote and published several books taking my laptop to an outdoor “office,” making cellphone calls from high in a cedar tree.  Sitting in my little green chair, I felt inspired by the sounds of the forest, the fresh air and the kind of life that whispers:  it’s ok to be here, now and live simply.

I left my island shelter to return to the SF Bay Area to marry my love, Carol.  But I’ll always have fond memories of cabin life, and dream of one day finding another.


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