Cooperstown Crier - Your Source for Hometown News - Cooperstown, Baseball Hall of Fame

This Wonderful Life

July 24, 2009

This Wonderful Life: Forget the Village; Maybe It Just Takes a Big Family

(Continued)





If you visit the Fenimore Art Museum, take a stroll across the lawn toward the lake. Walk down a path that slips between tall, green bushes and vines, and down by the shore, you’ll find the museum’s reproduction of an Iroquois longhouse. To most modern sensibilities, it most resembles a military barracks, with sleeping quarters lining the walls and a long corridor running the length. That is where the similarities end. The Iroquois lived in groups of 20-plus people in these longhouses. Central fire pits kept them warm. During the days, the women worked together to farm the fields, care for the children and keep the household running. The men worked together to gather and hunt. They had no concept of land as a commodity, the way Europeans did (and we do). The Iroquois didn’t invent the longhouse, a living arrangement that archeologists and anthropologists say go back 6,000 or 7,000 years. Neolithic inhabitants of Europe built them. Vikings and Scandinavians who lived in the countryside built them. People living in various corners of Asia built them. When you look at the history we have of living that way, it seems like a brief experiment to keep one house for every nuclear family, a practice that goes back just a couple hundred years; only about 150 years the way we do it now. It almost seems downright wasteful. Think of all that human labor that goes into keeping all these individual houses running. Beyond the efficiency issue, think of how differently we might behave toward each other if our definitions of family were more expansive. Think of how much more compassionate, forgiving and generous we might be. Think of what it might feel like to be on the receiving end of that kind of compassion, forgiveness and generosity. The only problem, as I see it, is the line to get into the shower every morning. Elizabeth Trever Buchinger was conceived in August of the “Summer of Love;” can you tell? You can connect with her at www. moremindfulfamily.wordpress. com.

Text Only
This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009