Being exposed to the elements year-round is an interesting experience as it forces us to live by the rhythms of nature. As I am writing this, a mighty snow storm is sweeping through my town. It is -15° Celsius (5° Fahrenheit) out and I snuck into one of the closed campus buildings for some internet and a couple hours of warmth.
Ever since I started living life houseless, I realized that the weather affects my mood more than the usual “winter blues” or “sunshine happiness”. The most crucial factor, by far, is temperature. Fall and spring became my favorite seasons because of the mild temperatures. Currently, I´d say I enjoy summer over winter, but I distinctively remember cussing up a storm over cloudless 90° F (32° C) days.
In addition to temperature differences, the amount and length of daylight varies greatly throughout the year. I used to find myself ´down´ a lot more when I spend already short winter days inside. These days, I am able to absorb every last ray of sunlight. Something as simple as a sunny morning makes me happy.
I feel more connected to our past; maybe even to our animal roots. Living outside, sleeping in a cold place, having to work hard for water, food, and heat, are much more than mere lifestyle differences. When you lie hidden beneath a mountain of blankets trying to get warm while hearing nature raging around you, you realize how dangerous this planet can be. If you are able to rough it out here, fear transforms into pure awe. And what follows is respect and a deep appreciation for our planet.
Sure, my life is different from what our ancestors experienced. I buy my food from the local supermarket and I am able to study and work in a warm environment. However, being this close to society has its downfalls. Instead of sleeping, eating and sitting by a warm fire, I have to rely on layers to warm up and go without warm meals unless I leave the city or have access to a microwave. I am constantly moving my tiny mobile home as I am not allowed to set up a camp. Ultimately, it is not going back to the “old ways” that connects me to our past, it is experiencing nature that does.
I enjoy experiencing nature. Rather than living a perfectly air-conditioned life filled with the daily “issues” of society, ranging from a lack of Starbucks “Coffee” and fitting in with the fashion world, to working 40 hours a week to afford said Starbucks product and many! more items, I want to experience life. I enjoy experiencing life and not just society, if that makes sense. I allow nature to ruffle my feathers. I allow her to fill me with real joy as much as I accept her gray-rainy-ugh-days. I am not going to cover her up or hide from her. I don´t want to walk through life wrapped in bubble wrap. I want to feel the world.