When my husband and I first moved to New Mexico from Mammoth Lakes, California, some 34-plus years ago, we came in an RV. After finding our way around Taos County, we settled on the land where we now have our home. We lived in the RV for six years and lived off-grid. We did not have a computer, television, landline telephone, or cell phones. We were quite content without such electronic wizardry and went about our daily lives feeling fulfilled.
A time came when my daughter sent a letter saying that it was time for us to have a telephone so that she and I could talk. She was pregnant and wanted a better connection than letters could bring her. So, we installed a landline in our little RV and began our romance of connecting with others in our circle of friends and relatives. We still maintained our independence off the grid, and it was indeed a very peaceful time, a time when imaginative ideas came to fruition as well as a deep connection to the present moment. We were not distracted by the noise of technology.
We both worked at outside jobs, and traveled back and forth, and when we returned home it was lovely in the quiet of this peaceful place we had chosen to live. Something that I found a little mystical was that prior to having a telephone, if there was any news that was important for us to know, it would come to us through a friend dropping in, or some other means. But we were never left in a position of not knowing what we needed to know. Life works that way.
Then one night during winter, the temperatures dropped to 18 degrees below zero. Everything in the RV was frozen, and I do mean everything. The heater decided not to work, and my frustrations became very vocal. We made it through, mostly because my husband, Richard, is mechanically talented and he was able to repair the heater and everything slowly began to thaw out.
I had become tired of struggling through winters and decided it was time to have a house, a real house. So as time went by, we gave up the RV and put a house on the land. When we first moved into our home, it felt like we were in a huge airplane hangar, as we had been living for six years in an 8’ x 32’ tiny home. We had no furniture and were able to pick up a piece here and there to at least have a place to sit and a place to sleep. And still no technology, only our one telephone landline. We continued to live in the peaceful silence we were used to.
Then one day my husband said, “I would like to have a television.” And thus began our journey into the world of technology. The moment the television was hooked up, the feeling in the house shifted noticeably: we had lost our wonderful silence. The television was followed by a computer and the computer followed by cell phones, XM Radio, and on it goes.
I often think about and can almost feel the beauty, silence, and peace we experienced in those long-gone days. I miss that.
I am proposing to myself and anyone who would like to join me, to take a day as often as possible and shut off all the technology. No Facebook, no tweeting, no news feed, no television, no computer, no radio. Just the silence and presence of the moment… and just be.