After 4 hours spent surrounded by the smell of french fries in the Veggie Turbo Diesel (Joe’s Veggie grease car) we piled out into a sunny spot where an overgrown shale driveway ended and our imaginations began. Joe and I had been eating Family Dollar spaghetti and sauce for 2,2oo miles the week before, hunting for land and couch surfing from Saranac Lake, NY to Dorchester, NH. The coincidences and accidents of vagabonding led us further west than we expected, to find this particular spot ten miles from Ithaca, NY. Already there was a sense of beginning, here in a clearing where a house project was abandoned by the current owner.
Initially, things seem anticlimactic. The March landscape greets us without greens, leaves or flowers. We are lucky it isn’t raining. Instead, we see bare limbs of young trees and the glaring rooftops of neighboring houses. The ground is muddy yellow and thorny brush bites at our coats and scarves. Some abandoned concrete forms are scattered at one side of the drive, building bones in the snow. We set out to explore.
Despite it all, this is a special day. All six of our crew is here, a rare thing today since Sharon is currently doing an MFA in Cali and Marina just started putting on a suit in Manhattan. Lea and Danila have no wheels to get them out of Philly, while Lily and Joe are practically living out of the car. But with some luck and a lot of willing, we’ve all made it to this bare land. We’re happy to reunite, comfortable and generally goofy as we follow a trail past deer tracks and occasionally stop to listen to bird calls.
The farther we walk, the better I feel about it all, these trees (maybe beech?) are young but so are we. We come out into a field. There seems to be so much possibility, and I am afraid of getting my hopes up. We see two hawks, hear a chickadee, a woodpecker and another song, unfamiliar, but so sweet it kills me. I want to live here. I’m becoming more sure with every thorny thing that tries to grab at me.
With the help of a GPS, we walk the perimeter of the property, navigating through tangled brush, and puddled ground, still frozen in places. This isn’t the ideal season for land searching, but we can imagine Spring. We find a small, probably seasonal, stream and crossing it in sneakers becomes a small circus. A small brown rabbit scampers off away from a chorus of “awww”s. Too damn cute. What’s this place trying to do to us?
Finally, we return to the clearing where a ghost house once was planned and never forgot about the promise. My compass turns us South, where the sun promises warm floors and energy and light. We’re all together now, and there is a lot to talk about. The next few days are going to be almost too much. Almost too synchronized, too fast, and completely unbelievable. To be at this stage so soon in our lives, in our plans, is an amazing and exhausting thing. Best thing is to just flow along with eyes as widely open as possible. And a camera isn’t a bad idea either.
Now we’re in and out of cafes and real estate offices, walking through town as if it’s already home. Is it too early for roots? We will know soon enough. Time to head home and walk circles around my room, maybe visit grandma and try to forget for a while the craziness of this step and all the dominoes that will fall accordingly. I drank my coffee too fast. I need to sit up straighter, I’m told. The land search might be over, so cross your fingers, knock on wood and keep tuned in…
Bibbity Bibbity bib..that’s all folks!