The Musings of A Simple Country Man
"Let The Revolution Begin...."
I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than
to be crowded on a velvet cushion. --Henry David Thoreau
The eagle is a powerful bird. He flies alone. He rises up with
authority into the sky. He is master of all he surveys. He is an
individualist and was selected in the old days to be our symbol.
-Norman Vincent Peale, How to be Your Best
By Hobie Morris
For over 25 years my wife and I have lived on Thoreau's
"pumpkin" here in rural, sparsely populated central New York. We
live a simple, frugal and uncluttered life without electricity,
running water, inside plumbing (we use a privy) in a small
uninsulated house heated with firewood that I cut and split by
hand. In many ways our lifestyle is more primitive than that of
the Amish people.
How we have managed--as we have slipped into seniorhood--without
life's "essentials" may be of some passing interest in future
We need a new generation of young people, and older people too,
who will be their
own fine, good, honest dedicated selves, who will be so
different from the common
herd that everyone will look at them in astonishment.
--Norman Vincent Peale
Many people apparently do look at us with astonishment.
Wondering how we have survived such a rigorous and at times very
difficult and dangerous lifestyle. The Welsh have an old
proverb: A ddioddefodd a orfu--who has endured has overcome. By
the grace of God--and a great deal of hard work by the both of
us--we have miraculously "endured" and in the process
Living simply has allowed us the time and opportunity to pursue
many meaningful and stimulating interests. Among them classical
music, reading, writing and corresponding with an incredibly
diverse number of men and women throughout the world. My lovely
wife of 40 years Lois has corrected and typed many thousands of
my letters and articles throughout our wonderful marriage. A
truly beautiful woman descended from the hardy upper Midwest
Norwegian stock. She is an amazing person. A 21st century
"pioneer" woman well versed in all the talents necessary to live
without the generally accepted necessities.
If my musings contain some redeeming value it is largely thanks
to Lois' editorial expertise--although knowing her as well as I
do she would no doubt disagree with my laudatory assessment of
her many contributions.
Marcus Aurelius has written "our life is what our thoughts make
Many of my thoughts have been influenced by the musings of
I'm a devotee of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Scott
and Helen Nearing, and my good friend Wendell Berry, among
others. Each in his way has been a highly individualistic,
independent, self reliant, free thinking and freedom loving
I've also been inspired by the writings of Thomas a. Kempis. In
a 1989 translation of The Imitation of Christ I found this
My friend, there are many things in life that you must simply
pass by...you must not
allow yourswelf to be caught up in the workings of the world;
you must find time
alone, away from noise and confusion, away from the allure of
power and wealth. You
must turn a deaf ear to many things and think instead on those
things that contribute to
God only knows for what reason I've been marching to the beat of
a drum that only I can hear ever since my earthly journey began
the year World War II started in Europe.
I guess this has led me to be an "unreasonable" sort of person
throughout my life.
The best definition of this "unreasonableness" was once penned
by George Bernard Shaw. Shaw wrote "the reasonable man adapts
himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to
adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on
the unreasonable man."
As a life long student (and one time teacher) of history I'm
convinced that America reached its greatest apogee during the
years that I've personally witnessed. America's rapid decline
has also taken place during this time. A decline so swift and
shockingly steep that it's left many of us gasping for breath.
We search for anchors to halt this descent--but so far in vain.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn said it clearly.
Must one point out that from ancient time a decline in courage
has been considered
the first symptom of the end?
Courage, compassion and truthfulness!
I believe that millions of Americans can personally relate to
the one time famous circus hobo clown (who never smiled) "Weary
Willie" (in real life Emmett Kelly).
"Willie" is a sad and ragged little guy who is very serious
about everything no matter how futile or foolish it appears to
In "Willie's" unspoken words he might say: "I am the hobo who
found out the hard way that the deck is stacked, the dice
'frozen,' the race fixed, and the wheel crooked."
But I suspect that like Willie there is present in all of us a
tiny forlorn spark of hope--which keeps us trying and pressing
Do you feel like Willie? I know I do.
New York State for instance was once widely known for good
reason as the "Empire State." It was the envy of other states
and nations. Today this state, in my opinion, is a pathetic
imitation of its past glory. What we have now in over abundance
is burdensome and oppressive taxes, a bloated and inefficient
governmental bureaucracy, corruption, powerful special intersts,
entrenched and unresponsive political leaders--the list goes on
and on. In total they painfullly and sadly remind us just how
badly we are governed. It's especially sad for this simple
country man because so far the electorate has not demonstrated
the courage to make the necessary changes to improve these
Dr. Warren Bennes has observed that "the status quo will not
help us march ahead; that I can guarantee."
Conditions I've attempted to describe here in New York State I
believe accurately mirror those in our Federal government. A
ruling body increasingly out of touch with reality, the needs of
the citizens; fueled and beholden to powerful special interests
etc. that in total make a mockery of the lofty democratic goals
of our Founding Fathers--slowly perfected over 200 years. Today
we find many of our officials morally and ethically corrupt.
Their masters seemingly are special interest profiteers who are
the power brokers behind the governmental throne. America is
paying a terrible price for this demise of democracy as we
mortgage our future and unnecessarily shed the blood of our
young people in ill advised disastrous foreign adventures.
American democracy--that ironically we want to impose by force
elsewhere in the world--has become in many important ways a
hollow, weakening sham. A cleverly orchestrated con job where
the "herd" (most Americans I'm sad to say) are kept appeased and
satisfied by just enough "scraps" thrown to them by the
plutocracy who are gorging themselves at the table of economic
plenty. The rich are getting richer while the "Weary Willies" of
society sink deeper and deeper into debt, despair and
Is there "a tiny spark of hope" anywhere in this discouraging
picture? Yes there is. I believe the "spark" will come from the
innovative, resourceful and courageous "eagles" (I personally
know several of them) who perch, ready to fly all across
Ralph W. Emerson and M. Ghandi expressed similar thoughts in
Emerson wrote that "every revolution was first a thought in one
man's mind." Ghandi: "we must be the change we wish to see in
To this simple country man these courageous, unconventionally
thinking men and women are not only eagles but they are the 21st
century's reincarnation of the 1776 patriots/revolutionaries.
People who are fearless and determined to change the status quo
and unresponsive governmental system that has among other
nefarious things shredded many of our sacred freedoms.
If America is to reclaim its greatness, revolutionary, far
sweeping changes are inevitable and mandatory. I believe
America's most dangerous threat is not from terrorists but from
within. If these implosive forces are neglected they will
eventually blow this once great and proud country apart. America
Balkanized? I don't believe it's impossible!
Warning. The winds of change will be in for some very dangerous
and difficult weather. Resistance will be powerful and probably
repressive (a condition already in evidence).
The "eagles" must and will be resolute because from their minds
and in their actions is the future of democracy. If democracy
lives the eagles must fly high.
...Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
--Ralph W. Emerson, Concord Hymn
For this simple country man my plea is simple:
Let the revolution begin!