EACH LITTLE STEP in our marriage-long Tuscarora Mountain saga on this patch of upstate New York land has been treated like a milestone, beginning with a ride here almost 24 years ago on a motorcycle to camp out a few often rainy days in a small tent.
Our current visit adds a few more little milestones - precious to us as this land is, a land we respect not because we have “title” to it, but because it is part of earth’s formation, and humankind’s history, whose inhabitants, including the Tuscarora Indians, etched it in their own ways.
We know it was logged. We know rural folks cut slabs of bluestone shale from it to eke out a living. The scars and mining formations are evident, even if covered with new growth. There are mounds too that will not be disturbed; let our imaginations play with the mystery they represent.
Even today, when I started to piece together a kitchen sink and countertop from scratch, marked a milestone, the first real kitchen sink for us here in all these years. And Eileen’s painting a new shade of color on our old 24’ x 12’ cabin fashioned from an Amish shed we bought 11 years ago after dwelling on our visits in old basically immobile campers in middle stages of dilapidation, that eventually had to be towed away as junk.
And then the 16’ x 16’ cabin extension with a sleeping loft that we had a contractor build two years ago that provided us with bathroom and kitchen space and - behold - indoor plumbing, with an indoor shower, and the commode and bathroom sink I installed last year, more little milestones.
History with family and friends too and their milestones, some passing from life itself, like we will eventually.
All of this is temporal, which makes it even more precious, as we fashion our story and this part of our lives here, and as it sustains ours and our four rescued pets’ during our time here, as well as our continuing dreams as a creative, mindful, socially and eco-conscious couple.
Milestones, to us, of deepest value.
23 June 2013