We return. Settle in. New found passions and a sense of commitment stirring stronger than I realized were possible. My marriage? Well, yes, that too. But something else. With the land. We tended her, struggled, built upon her, fought for her, won her, turned our back and walked away… and now have returned with a sense of dedication and duty greater than ever.
As I wrote a distant friend yesterday, “I am only beginning to understand.” It’s like waking up from a long sleep, or finally feeling well after a dragging sickness. A shocking clearness like evening light on pasture after a heavy rain.
And with devotion comes obligation. A sense of duty. Work. The more we love, the more we care, the more we want to do.
So, this brings us to the projects.
Now when all you have are seventeen acres, and five of them are across the river, of course you need to get over there. It is usable land, and more important, good grass, and chances are you have hungry horses that otherwise don’t have enough. So how do you get there, get your stock there, take care of fencing and grazing and tend to your land without wading, swimming or skipping over thin ice?
The idea is quite simple. Just a little foot bridge. For years we’ve toyed with ideas, for months we fine tuned plans, and finally for weeks we began to work out logistics and gather the material. It’s really no big deal. Just a couple timbers across the water faced with rough cut planks.
Now, all we have to do to start is get the materials to the river. No big deal, right? Just a stone’s throw away. But that stone would be dropping down a cliff. Almost two hundred feet. Steep, rocky, stark and rough.
Seven days later… putting in over ten hours a day of excavation, digging, ripping, smoothing, grading (and definitely some shaking in our boots, because this one was more than a little scary, and I’d betcha not OSHA approved)… all while perched on the side of this precarious cliff… the little trail is complete… and we’re exhausted.
Ready to put in that little foot bridge? Ah! Another complication. For with the early melt out and heat wave, high water has come early. This is no time to be dragging timbers across the river rushing brown as chocolate milk. So, we get a break. From this project, that is. Time to work on a few of the others while waiting for the run-off to subside.
For most, this is a place to get away, to rest, kick back, sit around and just watch the clouds go by. A vacation place.
Somehow I don’t think it will ever be that for me. And you know what? I wouldn’t want it any other way. It is the blood, sweat and tears that have made it mine.
It is that sense of commitment which both allows and demands that we remain.
7 thoughts on “Projects”
Just amazing! I’ve been there so I know how steep that terrain is, too. Don’t think I would have been able to bear watching if it would have been Ron running that excavator!
Its worth the work when its your place that you know you should be and protect .Just be careful .Work safe !!
Just as the land slipped into a deepening slumber, admittedly a little surprised at a few months’ silence – little as a couple of seasons are compared to geological time – she felt a new scratching on a part of her flank.
“Ah, she thought, that part was itching. Probably needed some digging. Now what is happening? Oh, it’s those two back again.” Precariously perched, the little figures made a bit more trail. “Not too fast,” the land thought, “you’ll get tired after all that soft lowland life.” Then she sent a flurry of chocolate-brown water to remind the humans of her power.
“Hmm,” the land mused, “I thought those two would be back before long.”
WHP, I always love to read your beautiful words…you have me smiling!
Ha! Agreed, Karen.
Julian, that gave me goose bumps and I laughed aloud! Wonderful… thank you… a gift of words.
We have 1/4 measly acre. With a wide house on it. Yet there is always more to do in that house and (about 8 months/year) in that yard than we ever get to. I suggested recently that we downsize, so that there would be less stuff, fewer chores, more time to play. “Nuthin’ doing”, said John–“if I retire I want to have those things to tinker with.” Well, of course I hope he’ll NEVER retire–he’s only 69 and I won’t let him off the hook til I finish my degree, which could take as much as 4 more years. But the fact remains–we need a purpose in life and we need down time. Work with hands and body helps fulfill both!
I have projects to do, too, long lists of things I let slide during the past semester. Some I’d like to let slide permanently! One thing I wanted to catch up on now that exams are over is reading your blog. I have so enjoyed spending part of this morning with you! Love you, Nieceling. Miss you.
Love you, and thank you for taking the time to catch up! No, we – you – anyone – can never to it all. Projects – yikes. As you cross one off the list, two more need to be written down. Darn lists. Like a guilty concience. But nothing matters more than the ones we love, and the things we love to do. Finding that balance. Some days I think I’ve got it figured out pretty well, other days I”m way off. Guess that’s what makes each day interesting, a new beginning.