It was 15 degrees so we bundled up in winter coats and several layers of sweaters and socks. We walked into a village, Greenfield Village to be exact. A Christmas time-travel-t back into 300 years of American life.
Greenfield Village is a vast outdoor museum spread across more than 80 acres, a place where America's past feels like right now. Located in Dearborn, just outside of Detroit, Michigan; there are 83 authentic historic structures, from the lab where Thomas Edison gave the world light to the workshop where the Wright Brothers gave us wings and the building where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. Visit the home where Noah Webster wrote the first American dictionary and the farmhouse where Henry Ford grew up. - source
We turned brass candle sticks on a 100 year old lathe. We watched women weave socks, rugs and blankets. We watched men throw pottery. We learned about creating products with tin and watched as glassblowers created beauty out of sand and fire. We walked through homes built in 1750. Saw Christmas in a farm house in 1856 and experienced winter in an English cottage in 1944.
I was in awe. Each new home was an opportunity to see how America use to feel. What it was like to cook dinner in a small kitchen on a wood burning stove. Or how to decorate a Christmas tree with paper chains and greeting card cut-outs. Presents were wrapped in white paper with twine for ribbons. The floors were wood, the windows were frosted and the fires were glowing. I could have stayed in that world forever.
I left with a deep appreciation for hard work. It couldn't have been easy to raise 7 people in a one room log cabin. It surely wasn't simple to prepare a feast without a fridge or box of instant-some-kinda-food. I can't imagine staying warm was easy, I saw those frosted windows. Writing the first dictionary, Thanks Noah Webster, or learning 20 languages to do it, seems like an impossible task without the Internet.
I left with a deep appreciation for simple. Listen, I love technology, I'm writing this post on a computer and I just checked my cell phone. I am terribly grateful for gas heat, the lights on my Christmas tree, thanks Edison, and boy do I love indoor pluming! I also loved that in each of these homes, all of this living, revolved around surviving. It revolved around feeding, nurturing, and raising homes. It revolved around SIMPLE, HARD WORK a way of living, a way to live. To make food slowly, to decorate a tree with cut-outs from greeting cards and to spend the day simply doing the work it takes to stay alive.
What I discovered is that I don't have to have all the stuff, the right pans, the right stove, the right Christmas decorations, the right rug, or heck even windows that keep out cold. It is refreshing to me to know that it IS ENOUGH to cook dinner from scratch, to clean my home, and to nurture my family. I know it's enough because if it wasn't enough, our society would have died off 300 years ago. And if simple, hard work was good enough for my ancestors, its good enough for me.