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On Wealth

What does wealth mean to you? Does Scrooge McDuck come to mind, lounging on his mountain of gold? Or do the faces of your family and friends pop into your head?

Wealth is the capacity for change.

~ C.S. Holling

This is my favorite definition. One that seems especially meaningful now, in light of the changes occurring in the economy.
I love turning the notion of “wealth = stuff” on its head. Change is tough with lots of stuff. It acts like tethers and slows your movement.

I like to play with this idea by imagining what I would take with me if I were to load up the car and drive away: some artwork, and art supplies, a few books, maybe a rock or two from an awesome adventure. A rug, a chair, my grandmother’s cast iron pan and my other grandmother’s wooden spoon. My pillow. My dog. Maybe a plant or some seeds.
It’s fun to think about where I would go if hit the road, and then I step out of my back door, into the long Montana summer evening, and I am totally content just where I am.

Tell me, where would you go if you just picked up and left? What would you take with you? What makes you feel the most wealthy?


  1. I have picked up and left :)! BUT, I’ve done it (several times) in a 34 foot motorhome, i.e. a 330 square foot 1 bedroom/1 bath house on wheels with a fair amount of storage…so not quite the same thing except that I am not a “stuff” person and live in a small 1 bedroom house when not in the motorhome. Still, I don’t/can’t take everything. I mainly think about my dog and cat, computer & camera as things to be loaded. Always on board are down comforters and pillows, basic cooking stuff. I have some framed photos of family and pets on board. I have a set of dishes that I like and nice glasses – for me, part of the joy of eating and drinking is a nice mug or glass that both feels good in my hand and pleasing to the eye. I like my indoor surroundings to have soft, natural light that reflects off an autumn pattern of color – that and my pets are my comfort and my wealth.

    Yes, it takes some of the $$ to get the food and the fuel. And I enjoy my work. I don’t like to be burdened by stuff and am more inclined to get rid of things than to save them, “just in case”. I like having just a few things to choose from, be it clothes, tools, gadgets, etc….extra stuff I don’t like.

    I’ve rolled around much of the U.S. and I hope to stay in the northwest from now on. I’d like to explore northwestern Canada. I’ll stay away from big cities and largish towns. I love where I am now but I like to explore also – I hope I always will be able to.

  2. Mine isn’t about is about FIRE. We are in an unbelievable fire season here…so I have laminated lists on my fridge…if I have 5 minutes, 15, an hour or a few hours. Baby book, important papers, valued photographs, contents of the safe, flash drives…. uninteresting but much time to ponder what REALLY matters….. animals of course are first….

  3. PS just got back from your fair city. Hiked the “M” yesterday morning before flying out. Ate at Bachus (sp?) Pub and the Montana Ale Works. I cannot believe how long it stays light there this time of year! Explored Hyalite Canyon and got some killer shots at Paradise Falls. So much to do; so little time :)

  4. I don’t have that much stuff, I live in about a 200 square ft room. I do have a small storage unit that is packed. I like the idea of being clutter free but it never really happens. My walls are covered with pictures and paintings done by friends and books and papers are everywhere…it’s easy to get cluttered in a small space. But if I was really thinking of wealth it would involve both money, friends and family and meaningful work. I am still looking for the occupation that can give me satisfaction and also enough money that I don’t have to squeak by anymore. So I would like enough wealth so that I am comfortable, do a little traveling and live in a space big enough to hold a couch:-)
    But if I had to take just a few things with me….Violet my cat, my fiddle, some of the artwork I have, my ipod and a couple poetry books oh and my tent and camping gear and………

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