More than ten years ago, I visited a friend who lived in a house made of straw bales. I wasn’t sure of what to expect and was surprised to see thick, painted walls, a wooden floor and the convenience of modern appliances. The house was easy to heat in winter and remained cool in summer.
I am currently reading a book which has left me contemplating much of what we have known and what we are now facing, in light of living with a pandemic. The author talks of living in a house with walls of straw bales, which seemed quite reasonable to me, given my experience in my friend’s house, but then I realized that it might not seem reasonable to those who have never been inside a straw house.
The author goes on to talk about other ideas that many of us are exploring, perhaps more so now than in the past – things like growing our own food in community gardens and modifying some of what we’ve come to know as our “normal” routines. COVID-19 has forced some changes on us. We are speaking now of a ‘new normal’ and we are actively considering what that will look like. Let’s allow our imaginations to run free and think about what was (pre COVID) and what could be (post COVID).
For many of us, adjusting our traditional norms has meant a reconnection with nature, to growing our own food, and to nurturing deeper relationships with those closest to us, and within community.
It’s meant pausing to take stock of our priorities and maybe even revisiting what some of these things mean to us. Perhaps not being able to gather in person has led to the cultivation of deeper relationships. Maybe we’ve had more time to garden or develop a new hobby. Hopefully, many of us have thought more about our communities and how we can help our neighbours (thank you to all who have contributed to the regional Feed the Need foodbank fundraising initiative, a cause that is near and dear to my heart). Perhaps we’re spending less time “on the road” and less time being “plugged in” and maybe in the long run, this will mean less stress and better health.
As we move forward from the restrictions in place because of the pandemic, let’s individually and collectively consciously think about how we are living our lives. Let’s make informed decisions based on our values instead of simply falling back into our old habits that perhaps crept up on us without much forethought.
And what about those straw houses?
Chair, Squamish-Lillooet Regional District