Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sites To Know : Whimfield : Modern Pre-Industrial Living

Sites To Know : Whimfield : Modern Pre-Industrial Living: "

Though I began life in Montreal, our family moved to Prince Edward Island in 1970. It is in every way my home. It is where I feel grounded, safe, calm, trusting that life will always bring ease. I need never worry because all things great and small go well and end better. The sailing is very smooth in this little paradise.

The Maritimes in general, and PEI especially, have a heavier gravity than anywhere else. PEI magnetizes its children back. When Islanders meet, we discuss how our conniving to return permanently is progressing. I’ve got it down to July and December so far.

Cameron and Laura-Jane.

This is the story of Laura-Jane and Cameron. It begins 2 years ago in Victoria, BC. In December, they packed their possessions into trailer, sold the condo, put away the tight skirts and high heels, acquired a pair of snow boots, and headed East towards a hazy horizon on which sat an old blue PEI farmhouse listed on the MLS site.


They moved into a wood-heated, uninsulated old farmhouse in the midst of PEI’s worst month, a -20C February. They were told that they were going to die. As one who has hunkered through many a PEI February, believe me when I tell you that it is a miracle that they didn’t.

Dreams of growing their own berries and living the back-to-the-land dream soon gave way to the reality of melting snow in pots to have water, and shovelling out 3ft snowbanks from one single storm. The indescribably luxurious nearby motel, with hot water of all things, was home for a month. Miserable at the time, it somehow became magical in reading their account of it, probably because it wasn’t happening to me, and I’ve learned that you don’t die from it.

Eventually, windows and running water were installed. At some point, you’re committed enough to not be able to turn back. Like being 6 weeks pregnant, like taking on a new life dream and saying farewell to an old one that doesn’t speak to you any longer, there are still moments of questioning. So much of life, and of relationships, is about stability shifts. You just tip the scale a little and keep balancing on the side you made heavier.

Can you reach adulthood in Canada and not own a pair of these? I’ve been seen at the mall in mine. And proud of it.


Laura-Jane took up a blog to chronicle the daily progress and activities, but also the evolution and reflections of their life’s dream. You’ll find it at Whimfield: Modern Pre-Industrial Living.

Laura-Jane’s blog posts and photographs are wonderful on so many levels. This site speaks of going after happiness and not denying restlessness, of not knowing all the answers ahead of time, of not looking back with regret, and of how little risk there really is relative to what we perceive there might be.

Reality transitions allow you to go back if you need to. I wonder how often that really happens. Seldom, I would guess. Doing that thing that lifts your feet off the ground has an energy of its own. It can take a lot of hits before it caves. Do read the About page, where you can be inspired by their message.

Why Bother? is a recurring theme in many posts. Laura-Jane’s answers are grounded in her relationship with Cameron. Slowly, she is defining the life she wants to share with him and what she’s willing to trade in to do it. Those discoveries are shared with a deeply touching honesty and exposure that few would be comfortable in attaining. The ultimate answer to Why Bother? is that it feels so good to love and be loved.

Tree leaves.

In many of her posts, Laura-Jane is trying to figure out HOW to contact her inner voices. Like so many of us, she trusts that they’re there to guide her, but how do you go about hearing them? How do you recognize them in the first place? In the very beautiful Big Wheels Keep On Turning , she expresses fear that the loudest that these guides ever get is a whisper. It’s up to us to do the rest.

I love the genuine voice with which she writes. So many of her feelings are simple worries that we all share if we’re trying to change the present. Fragile delights arrive every day, just waiting to be noticed. It feels like a daily dose of reconnecting to what really matters most.

About seeing what you want to see, in This Is Our Bedroom. The photographs are so honest, so not-postcards, that they glow with the unassumingly breathtaking beauty of this gentle place. There are no busy effects. It’s just life at its least complicated. Nature seems to express its beauty through a powerful, pervasive serenity that can be missed or too easily ignored.

About why it’s just good enough to live with those you love and not need more in I Love Living In The Country :10 Reasons Why.

Christmas tree.

As they work to experience this transition to the fullest, they grow and learn more about what they want to be part of their life and what they consciously choose to reject. As Laura-Jane says, “eventually the quiet voices get louder and the louder ones subside”. On the days when that seems too hard and too far away, eat brown sugar from the spoon and read the Sears catalog.

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