July 1, 2017

Moth, Rust, and Mold

Moth, rust, sub-prime mortgage crisis... and mold.

The bible has a quote about material things that starts,“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy...". Hmm, nothing about mold (or the Great Recession). Probably because the authors were desert dwellers living in simple hand-built homes.

Basically, no moisture, no mold. And no mortgage, no meltdown.

For 9 years before moving to the Atlantic side of Canada, we lived 5 meters from the Pacific Ocean. It was more humid than any other place I lived previously, which includes being born in the semi-arid climate of the Palliser's Triangle of the northern Great Plains.

On the prairies things dry up and blow away, so for many years I knew nothing of the power of molds. Now we live a few foggy kilometres away from the ocean, which surrounds our area.

I am convinced mold is nature's way of making sure there aren't too many things sitting around unused.

Mold spores are a common component of normal household dust. They are found everywhere, and can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. These amazing life forms can grow in temperatures from 0 to 35 degrees Celsius (32 and 95 °F). Yes, they are persistent.

In a high humidity climate, like on the coasts, things that aren't in use, and circulating in and out of storage, are in danger of molding. It is relentless. A rolling stone in coastal humidity of 96% may gather no moss, but it still molds.

The worst thing is when something you don't need or want succumbs to one or more of the thousands of known mold types. I guess if it isn't being used, you deserve to have it broken down into its component parts and returned to nature.

But really, how is it that even after downsizing to the point we fit everything we owned into a travel van, upon arriving here 6000 km away, we realize we still have things we don't want or need? How does that happen?

I think it is the round leaf sundew stickiness of material things.

Stuff is easy to acquire, and difficult from which to get unstuck. Almost three years later we are still finding things that are not doing any work for us. And if something starts to mold, it is creating work. Mold in a house is a bit of an emergency that must be dealt with immediately.

Which makes me think, "How much time do we spend maintaining, storing, moving and shuffling our possessions? Or worrying about them? Or keeping them safe from theft, and dust, and breakage?"

The answer to that is probably, "Too much time". They aren't possessions, they are possessing. Possessing us and our precious time. Things are so needy, always vying for our attention. When they are taking more than they give, it is time to get unstuck, and let them go.

We are nearing the end of dealing with our current moldy mini-crisis, which turned out to be yet another wonderful opportunity to get rid of even more excess baggage. The Universe is telling us something, still.

1. You can live more freely, joyfully, and less moldily, with fewer things, and

2. Run a dehumidifier (we borrowed one from our landlord) to make sure the things you do need and want don't succumb to the whole moth, rust and mold routine.

I am getting closer all the time to my ultimate goal of being able to fit all my possessions into a shoebox. Thanks, mold, for helping nudge me in that direction.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7/02/2017

    Mold is a lesson in impermanence. It's role in nature is recycle organic matter and detoxify the environment. It's funny the more you practice simplicity and reducing craving the more lessons you can learn from plants and natural processes. It is getting closer to the animism of our ancestors. There is much to learn from this path and hard to communicate to others if they are still distracted by craving and consumerism.
    For me I buy only essentials as this works for me and live simply as possibly. The insights when they come are very deep.


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