Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Answer to "Why Domes?"

Several months ago Morgan and I built our first dome together. It took hours and hours of our precious time from the initial research on several dome websites, to the trip to Home Depot to scope out supplies, to the night of cutting through the thick piping with a flimsy leather cutter, to assembling the connectors and finally to the actual construction of the dome. Upon completion we eagerly took a dozen photos as though the dome were a new baby, and posted the photos on Facebook. Tons of people expressed their interest and told us the dome was awesome, but we also heard a lot of "why did you do this?" or "neat but what is it for?" types of comments. At first we both felt a little shocked, after all, how could anyone NOT want to build a dome? But then it got me thinking; of course it may look a little big strange that in a world full of computers, deadlines, delicious restaurants and local attractions that two full grown adults would take the time to sit down and make something that is essentially entirely useless. After all, don't we have some blogs to read or some movies to watch? We aren't artists or students or perhaps the typical type of people you'd imagine would be sitting in their homes building something just for the fun of it.   So you ask, "why domes?" and I assert, "fair question."

Here's the answer, or at least, part of it.

This past fall something happened that hadn't happened to me in a long time. Our Internet went down. Morgan was at work, Aias was home sleeping and I was sitting at my computer enjoying my daily Facebook/Livejournal/Reddit time. When the Internet went down, I didn't know what to do. For the past year I had been spending all of my spare time hanging out in cyberspace. While we do spend tons of time on the weekend and on weeknights doing things like eating out together and going to the playground or for long walks, my day to day life consisted mostly of cleaning, cooking, playing with Aias, long walks and trips to the tot gym, and finally, sitting online in my downtime. The Internet was and is a place to connect to my family and friends, and perhaps most importantly, other mothers.  Without the Internet, I think I'd probably go insane from cabin fever.  I'm not talking about reading the Wikipedia for hours and learning things, either.  Between social networking and daily news, there's hardly any time on the Internet to be learning anything anymore.  It occurred to me that right then and there, I didn't have a hobby or activity I could pick up and participate in while in the comfort of my own home. Sure, a year earlier I had plenty of hobbies.  Unfortunately none of those hobbies translate well into life with a child.  Aside from reading a book or knitting something, there was little I had set aside to do in quiet time by myself in the home apart from getting linked in with others via the Internet.

It wasn't until the Internet went down that I realized there's a problem with this:  using the Internet isn't a very useful or overall gratifying replacement for a hobby.  It's also not very nourishing for the soul.  Sure, we have hiking, climbing, camping, skiing, and all those great outdoor things we do when we have a chance and those things are great for the body and mind.  Our ideal life consists of us being independently wealthy, or at least independently financially sustainable without working 40+ hours a week, and in this world we do all those fabulous outdoor things every single day.  Sadly, that's not our current reality.  As nice as it would be for us to get out of the house everyday, it's just not possible.  What we needed was something creative that allowed us to explore, learn, and nourish our souls  from the comfort of our own home. We wanted to create something with our hands, something beautiful and interesting, and something that would still exist if the power went out.   Morgan had been talking about domes for months and months and months, and finally we were going to act on it.  And we were glad we did. 

So why domes, specifically? Lots of reasons.  Domes and spheres are beautiful geometric and mathematical pieces of art.  You can have a teeny tiny dome that sits on your desk, or you can have a giant dome that holds an IMAX movie theatre inside it.  You can build a temporary dome and camp in it, you can build a permanent dome and make it your home.  Entering the world of domes allows you to commit as much as you want, and there is always something new to expand on.  The more we learn about domes, the more we want to learn.  The more domes we build, the more we want to build.  More importantly, spending our time building and researching domes means less time staring at a screen and more time together as a family. 

So in short, my answer to the question "why domes?" is "why not?"

What things do you do with your family in your day to day life that take you away from the screen? 

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