Thursday, February 4, 2010

First Year of Construction: October 2007

The building process began with the arrival of my parents in Oct. of '07. During their stay we were able to get a platform and a sub-floor constructed. It was also around this time that I found a tractor that I could afford. I really didn't expect the tractor to come along so soon. If I had known that I would have a tractor in a couple of weeks from the time I started building, I might have waited and used it to properly excavate a site to build upon. I suppose there are a lot of things I might have done different in hindsight. This "house" was originally meant to be something less house-like. Now into February of 2010 (2+ yrs. into construction) I'm not sure what I was thinking. I guess I planned for this place to be a bit of a practice run: a sort of shack that would go up quickly and simply. I just wanted an enclosed space to put a wood burning stove and some tools. The closest thing I've ever built to this was a fort when I was a kid.
This experience is very much the same as when I was a kid. I remember the same excitement and feelings of independence that the building process gave me. The biggest difference here, as an adult, is the access to better tools. As a kid I would plan and draw various fort designs. All my plans involved some kind of subterfuge like camouflage, building in a tree with a drawbridge or completely hidden underground. My greatest motivator was escape. Going to the Jehovah's Witnesses meetings was torture to me. Every other day of the week was another meeting where I was to have my mind boxed, over and over. I dreamed of escape from a young age but could never get beyond building or just imagining the refuge. Where to find food and clothing and other basic needs in the Oregon woods was beyond my elementary school level of confidence and intellect.
This is about a sanctuary. I am still trying to escape from something. Psychotherapy has illuminated escapism as a driving force in my life but hasn't eliminated it. Somehow I've learned to revel in it. I wonder what my therapist back in NYC would say about that... anyway, I feel like I am still running in anticipation of some kind of break down of society, an apocalypse. I need to build a place that is insulated from the economic world and as self sufficient as possible. I now have water and heat but energy and food are more difficult, expensive and time consuming to attain. I often wonder if this feeling of impending doom is brought on simply by observations of the fragility of the modern world's network of distribution and economics or if there is a deeper pathology brought on by the fatalistic view of Revelations that I was learning about before I could speak. Probably some combination of the two. Whatever the deepest motivators happen to be, this project gives me a feeling of purpose beyond all others to date. For now I'll just roll with it.
By the end of my October '07 visit, I had the lower floor of the house framed...