NOW: Christmas Day at our upstate New York cabin: 2012
Snow in a small field, winter storm warning for this area along the northeastern border with Pennsylvania, animal tracks and trees with light snow on their limbs, Eileen and our two rescued dogs and cats temporarily inhabiting a cabin we hope to be living in regularly, when is not certain, probably still a few years off.
Our cabin is a healing place for both of us, the land too, which has been ours to tend for 23 years. The cabin is the latest iteration of dwellings here, itself now in its second stage, a 16-foot by 16-foot extension with a sleeping loft added to a 12-foot by 24-foot converted Amish built shed. At first, it was a tent, then an ancient immobile camper trailer followed by an equally ancient and virtually immobile motor home, both towed away when they became uninhabitable.
Then we put in the shed/cabin and this past year the extension which at last for us here in this space has a sink with running water and a toilet that flushes, both I installed in the last two days.
We've never lived here full time. Jobs drew us increasingly further away over the last 23 years, initially in upstate New York, then to Michigan and Tennessee, where we currently "live" and Eileen works. But this space, terrain, five-acre woodland bluestone-shaled mountaintop place, is the "Heartland."
And when I write of healing, it is about heart, and mind, spirit, soul and body, about love. As a goal to rid me of cancer (not the treatment goal of remission but mine), our cabin is a guide. It is closer, much closer to family, to the land where we have a rootedness unlike any other. All the aspects of what I can imagine this self to be, have found their home here, home with Eileen, and home at last in a single space after a lifetime of unrootedness and uprootedness.
For a short time this year, the Williams Constitution natural gas pipeline corporation threatened to tear into our Heartland with a swath of ripped and blasted 160-foot right-of-way for a pipeline. I wrote the Federal Energy Commission overseeing the proposed pipeline that the blasting and burrowing for its route would certainly destroy our 250-foot deep water well and the soon-built septic system. I enclosed engineer's maps enclosed, to show the scale and proximity. I'm not sure whether this became a factor, but the pipeline company rerouted its path to an alternate map line over apparently receptive larger spacious tracts to the east.
But why not equally expensive efforts for alternative energy sources - the sun, the wind? Too much reconfiguration of the energy-industrial complex; of the profit machine; of the so-called national goal to become energy-independent, to in fact be an exporter of energy. I need to explore that more. And shall.
Still, here is Heartand. Place and goal of healing and being healed. Definitely worth striving for. Even awaiting the results of the National Weather Service's winter storm warning.
(draft version, to be built on)