So this is it. Our sanctuary. A retreat from the craziness of city life, which frankly, none of us has enjoyed much, except for Chopper (the dog). This will be our place to recharge from all that hectic energy, a place to connect with Nature, to live simply. A place to see the stars and listen to the babbling of the stream. A place to walk barefoot in the moss, and sit around a campfire playing our ditties. After living in a row home in Baltimore City (which we will still do for a couple more years), nothing could be more pleasing then the sound of the wind in the trees, the chirping of birds and most importantly, the sound of silence.
"Are you hunters?" asks a very ancient, but dapper man, wearing a black cowboy hat and one of those skinny cowboy ties. We haven't been there but ten minutes, when his Honda CRV meandered up our driveway and parked with a sigh at our feet.
"Just came by to say hello and introduce myself," he says.
We all look at each other for a minute; us stunned to have a visitor so soon, and him obviously sizing us up. We startle out of our stupor and shake hands, him nearly breaking mine in his grip. For a little guy, he sure can squeeze!
After the perfunctory introductions, he bombards us with his questions. "Do you shoot guns?", "Do you hunt?", "Will you be living here?", "Do you have dogs? (at which point we all look at Chopper playing with his squeak toy and realize that he, in our visitor's opinion, does not in fact qualify as DOG) "Do you go to church?, "Do you have kids?" "Do you shoot guns?(again)", "Do you have four wheel drive?" and on and on. Evidently this man, our new neighbor, was a get- to- the -point kinda guy.
The funniest part in all this interrogation, was that we answered each question with a brief yes or no. This was then followed by a LONG monologue, on the part of our interrogator.
"Do you go to church?"
"There's a little church around the corner that I go to. My wife can't go with me anymore, she had a stroke and now I'm her caretaker, but I still go. We have a choir and I play the trumpet. I'm in several bands in fact, around town. I got to playing the trumpet in high school to impress this girl. Boy she was really somthin'"... he trails off for a minute, remembering his trumpet playing young and wild days I suppose, but soon gets back on point..."Yeah its a nice little church, right around the corner," he says while looking at us penetratingly. I guess saving souls in a full time job.
In this way we learned about most of his life, as well as that of his wife and daughter, while he gleaned just a bit of ours.
His main concern, it seemed, was whether or not we came here to shoot guns. We assured him that we did not plan on shooting, that in fact we enjoyed the quiet vibe of the area. He was unconvinced. We told him we were vegetarians. Now he was suspicious.
"You don't eat meat?"
"Do you eat fish?" (why is this ALWAYS the next question?)
"Oh good, there is some great fishing around here. A couple of years ago, I..." he went on to tell a variety of fishing stories, non of which involved alcohol of any kind, which really, we found just a bit sacrilegious. Anyway he seemed relieved upon finding out that we do eat the flesh of living things, and having a final look around, we again shook hands, (ouch!) and he drove off with a final honk and wave. We're pretty sure he'll be watching us with binoculars, as his house is barely visible from ours. I don't know what he'll do in the summer time though, when those trees fill in with leaves. I suspect we'll be getting another visit then.
After that delightful welcome, we sat around on our zero gravity chairs, feeling a little paranoid. Who else is going to drive up to "say hello'?
Then we remembered.
We don't have to sit here, on the main clearing, next to the driveway, feeling sketchy. There are 5 acres of woods and streams and fields to explore! Sure they are totally overgrown with briars right now (I seriously have never seen this many thorny things anywhere), but, armed with weed wackers we began to clear trails, and soon forgot everything but the wonderful feeling of being out among the trees and moss and ferns.
Walking around, it's hard not to constantly be making plans, and delegating jobs. There is SO MUCH to do. Trails to be made, trees to be cut and chipped, areas to be landscaped, grass to be mown, garden to be tilled, trees to be planted, not to mention some grading work to be done on the "main area" where our first building "the shop" will be put.
It's really overwhelming when we think about it like that. So I have to remind myself of the old tortoise and the hare story. This isn't a race. We are here. Enjoy the work. If this is nothing more then a kick ass camping spot for a great while, that's fine too. Let things develop organically. Work hard, sweat, have fun, dream and grow, but don't force, don't push, don't strive. We've done too much of that in our previous ventures (more about us later). Let the wind be at your back, and things will develop in their own time. In their right time. For now, we FOUND it. Or it has found us, and for right now let that sink in, and let that be ENOUGH!