another power outage this morning. Who thought life in rural Virginia could get this exciting? But it’s back on now, as you must have already gathered given that I’m writing this on a computer.

This morning, when the power was still off, I was slicing myself a thick slab of homemade bread, and I thought about how much I loved making bread when I lived in an apartment in Cincinnati. I would spend an entire Saturday afternoon making the dough, kneading it, letting it rise, punching it down, letting it rise again in pans, and then baking it, the yeasty aroma filling my apartment, replacing that “cheap apartment in the city” smell. It was kind of a meditation. A Creation Meditation, focused on the act of making something myself, something that I’d otherwise be buying. Baking bread was an act of sanity. I needed to have something in my life that wasn’t mass marketed, that wasn’t just some empty object to be consumed. I didn’t buy bread EVER that entire year in the apartment in Cincinnati. I’d make fancy breads for Christmas presents for my family, and when I was in college my downstairs neighbors paid me to bake bread for them.

When I first moved here to the commune, my parents were a little baffled tha I didn’t take on making bread as one of my jobs. I was too excited about learning to milk the cows and weave hammocks. As I was slicing the bread this morning, I realized that most of my life now fulfills what I had been seeking in baking my own bread.

and of course it’s not perfect or pure. I drive cars, use computers, and eat grapefruit that was grown in Brazil by migrant workers. I struggle with that, philosophically, sometimes. Is it possible to live beyond these contradictions? (see earlier comment by an angry reader about how I have so many contradictions in my life) Probably, if I were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to do it — it involves more than giving up grapefruit. I guess where I am right now is trying to live in a way that I can be happy. Right now, that happiness is based on my personal experience AND an awareness of how my actions affect other people. That basic drive for happiness transcends any specific ideology that can be contradicted.

for more on power outages and life on the commune, visit She is an amazing writer, with a much different perspective than me.