I have never forgotten Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s comments about the appeal of simplicity when it comes to shelter, as well as to other basic needs in our lives. In Gift from the Sea, she writes with such appreciation about her time on a Florida island, where she escaped the very busy routine of being a mother of five, with a career, living in the North. In a beautifully poetic way, she allows the seashells she finds on her daily beach walks to stimulate her more general ideas about life.
“One does not need the airtight shelter one has in winter in the North,” she writes. “Here I live in a bare sea-shell of a cottage. No heat, no telephone, no plumbing to speak of, no hot water, a two-burner oil stove, no gadgets to go wrong. No rugs. There were some, but I rolled them up the first day; it is easier to sweep the sand off a bare floor. But I find I don’t bustle about with unnecessary sweeping and cleaning here. I am no longer aware of the dust. I have shed my Puritan conscience about absolute tidiness and cleanliness. Is it possible that, too, is a material burden?”