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.