Skip to main content

The Lesson

By August 6, 2015January 5th, 2021Lifestyle & Stress

Quick sprint to escape storm renews survival instinct

It was a rainy day in South Gilboa, the name I’ve given my farm in Upstate New York. A brief clearing of the cool wet weather provided a window for a relaxing workout. Some time out, while nearing the top of a hill’s southern face, there it was. I stopped cold. It was unusual for me to be struck so hard. An image raced by, that of a sudden blink-of-the-eye proverbial deer-in-the-headlights.

A massive mountain-air nor’easter quite unexpectedly was in full view. It was confrontational and moving quickly and directly at me, literally moments away. The big black cell of a cloud was complete with very cold air, mounting rumblings, and emotionally charged with real electricity.

Being off the grid in the 21st Century is beyond any asocial attitude. It is more than survival or escape, instead approaching the most fitting and healthiest lifestyle all joined with an ultimate joy not easy to describe unless you are already there. And it is always a lot of fun. Having a small piece of land to grow and raise many varieties of food, with small local family farms nearby to barter for other benefits that include heavy cream of grass-fed Jerseys, so thick it does not pour, the best beef and pork, and other rewards. Add to that the enjoyment of chopping wood and digging up large stones for new garden space. The days are long, the pay is low, but the real profits reaped are beyond belief. This is really self-health management.

I would not want it any other way because my life depends on it, all part of the coming decades, my short- and long-term master plan. It is beating the odds, some say. Except for humans and captive animals, mammals live an average of six-times their skeletal maturity. That would be 120 years for humans, and our bodies have the dedicated, devoted and zealous brain in a body regularly replenished by nature to help accomplish the ongoing dream of choice.

With the growling storm approaching, I quickly came to my fight-flight senses. The choice was clear — run. The beeline away from the storm toward the house was swift and anaerobic. High heart rate and rapid breathing with full strides, toes reaching out to plant and grab the ground’s energy, arms and legs coordinated a kinesthetic dance. I had not run that fast and far in many years, but my sympathetic nervous system gave the order, and the muscles complied, even before I could observe the feel of those complex inner workings.

In short time, the stone path to the front door came into view, and I quickly turned to glance back. The storm followed me. As I opened the front door the hard rain tried to follow, frequently pelting me with hail. I made it inside.

Watching the storm a good distance from the window, I smiled. The experience had been exhilarating.

I felt physically and mentally great. What a workout. A quick subconscious systems’ check of muscles, joints, and ligaments had ended with no damage. My muscles actually seemed happy. A healthy appetite gradually appeared.

Three eggs cooked in last night’s fatty beef Anjou was added atop a plate of spinach, tomatoes, onions and garlic. A healthy helping of sea salt finished the dish. I sat in a chair with the best view of the storm, and started enjoying the slow tasty meal.

After watching the wild weather for a while my damp cold clothes were chilling my skin. Dropping my plate and fork off in the sink, I headed to the shed for firewood. A splinter in my thumb from yesterday’s chopping was still a bit annoying, but it appeared to be healing well. And last week’s calf strain from lifting large rocks seemed to be gone, but I was nonetheless more cautious than usual in piling a large armful of seasoned split oak. Off-the-grid injuries on the farm while performing day-to-day work for warmth, food and fun sometimes just happen. However, they usually disappear quickly.

The next morning, as I woke with the rising sun on my face through the opened northeast window, and before moving, I quickly performed another body inventory. All systems seemed good. I got up to go downstairs — still good.