Wednesday, April 29, 2009
The Land: first impressions, Dec. 2006
It was absolutely necessary that I camp out on the land as soon as it was mine. I could not believe that I had become owner of 55 acres of Maine woodland. The property had just recently been logged so it was quite cheap. Even I could afford this! I figured that in terms of investment, if I just let it sit for 20 or 30 years, until it's ready to harvest again, I could sell it and with any luck make a few bucks on which to retire. But that is not what immediately came to mind for me. Nothing in particular did, nothing but a compulsion to be there. I sensed real purpose connected with the land. The possibilities seemed very great! But for what? A house, a home; yes. But more. Finally I had a place that I could call mine. I could build anything!
So, it was very important that I camp out for a few days. I needed to walk around and drink the water and think about what to do. I spent a lot of time thinking while tending the fire, a very contemplative activity. The land felt good and ripe with opportunity. But the December nights were brutally cold in the small tent, even though the 30F degree temperatures were warmer than usual. The ground was lumpy and uncomfortable and the tent was impossible to heat. The other great hardship was that of pooping with dignity. I felt like an idiot squatting with my pants down around my ankles while hanging backwards from a tree trunk. Silly as I must have looked, it seemed the best way to hit the hole I had dug and miss soiling my clothing which was bulky and heavily layered. Luckily there was no one to witness how clumsily I performed one of natures most base and universal functions. I did however hear a squirrel chirping from somewhere.
So, a list of priorities began to form in my head while tending the campfire. That night, bundled in a full body sleeping bag and blankets I dreamed of a little shack with a stove and an outhouse with a real toilet seat.