A snowy Saturday proved perfect to spend some quality “alone time” with the land. The wife’s hair appointment and kids preoccupied by the antics of their grandmother left a void for my attention that I had every intention of filling with a visit to the new house. The house would lie quiet that day. Eric, my brother and master carpenter, had thrown his back out so it was unlikely he’d be out there. Expecting as much, and with only a couple of hours at my disposal, I decided to forego taking any tools with me to the job site. Rather I donned my hat and boots, and threw my camera case on the passenger seat of the Jeep. With a turn of the key she fired up and we backed out of the snowy driveway.
Reaching the land the “new” drive lay icy and snow-covered. I glanced over and noticed the gas meter had been installed the day previous. Three little meters, all in a row, one for each house on the drive. From that standpoint the house was done. Driving up the long drive and arriving at the house I could see we were still far from done. Pulling my yellow Jeep alongside the garage I was pleased to see the garage doors were installed. The illusion of carriage doors with the convenience, and savings, of overhead panels. I could also not help but notice all the siding was done, save the back side of the attic cupola. The porches still need their steps and columns, but otherwise the outside was done. At least done until the Spring sun arrives to make temperatures more conducive to painting.
I darted inside to examine the interior while the grey of winter daylight filtered through the windows. Hardwood was beginning to take hold of the first floor, obscuring the OSB “plywood”. I had to lift up the protective paper covering to gander at the light maple finish. It will be weeks before a clear image will appear of how the flooring looks. Upstairs the laminate flooring is in as well. This time dark walnut carries the day in the craft room and upstairs studio. The lavender studio walls dance wonderfully in concert with the charcoal colored floor, under a flood of north light coming through the studios’ 20′ window assembly. Just outside the studio, the gallery wall is outfitted with its MDF skin. The gallery door panels sit patiently near their openings, awaiting to be fitted.
Quickly I dart through the rest of the house, examining every room. Once assured all is well, or as well as it will be for that moment, I open the hefty front door and stand on the front porch. It was crisp day, in the low 20’s. Snow falling gently the entire duration of my visit to the land. Camera in hand I step off the deck on to the, finally, frozen ground. For once I don’t have to worry about mud. I’d spend the next hour circling our 6.5 acres of land on foot in the falling snow.
We have seven neighbors bordering our property. This time of year I can see at least six houses from the land. You’d think it’d be tough to feel isolated and meditative being surrounded by man-made structures. But during, and after, my hour tour I felt wonderfully refreshed and relaxed. Nature does wonders and I can safely say, one’s soul does not need endless vistas (as argued by others) to find the calmness she offers. I thoroughly enjoyed my brief trek; pausing to enjoy the solitude, taking the time to capture that which interested my eye with a photo or two. I was really focusing in on the small details Nature offers. And in those details I can see beauty and possibility. Realistically though it was cold so I didn’t linger long. What I did find, or rather confirm though, is that the land has spiritual and healing powers. It has the power of discovery and reflection. To allow one to find what they are looking for in themselves. My spiritual friend Corky and I have talked about meditation during this project and we’ve talked about the power of land (this land) to sooth the soul. I was glad to be able to experience it first hand this Saturday. Walking through that snow, past bushes that I’ve picked black berries from, around old trees, over tufts of reeds, I felt connected to something greater than myself.
Now what I need is to get the house done and get the land cycling through its normal flow again. I need to get out amongst the snow and dormant plants in the winter; and amongst the leaves (and ticks I suppose) in the summer. This land can sustain, heal and create. It has done so for thousands of years and will continue to do so. It has energy and a voice. I look forward to experiencing both first hand as they grow around me, my family and those who visit. If you don’t make it out to the land, find your own piece of Nature to explore and find solace in. Whether it be a Rocky Mountain Vista or a meter of grass in Manhattan, open up your spirit and soul to Nature, breathing in every one of her detailed goodness.
Here are some pics from the day, enjoy. (Obviously the bridge, train and parking lot are from the park…..we have none of those at the new house).