All I could think to do was give a nod to my daughter’s pensive announcement:
When I grow up, I’m going to live where nobody owns the land, where everyone can live wherever they want.
There were many things I could (should?) say, but didn’t. Still, I’ve thought of it many times.
Like earlier this spring when the junco couple whirred by us when we’d come too close to their hideout, smack in the middle of the yarrow patch I intended to divide up and plant out with the fruit trees. They’d tut-tut from garden posts until the garden was quiet again.
And when phoebes started building a nest just overhead within the shed door, whooshing by me when I went to get a shovel, a mattock, garden amendments. I started singing out to announce my arrival, and the momma would fly off her nest of 4 tiny eggs, anxiously guarding nearby to give me a turn in our now shared shed. Our children’s yarn seems to be woven into their nest, yarn once tied on saplings they wanted to make sure no one cut down. Yarn woven in among long strands of what looks suspiciously like my hair.
The babies hatched, fluffy fragile little things.
The idea of shared land came up again at our recent stay at Dickinsons Reach, when on the last night a boy said into the darkness of the guest yurt:
I don’t want to leave. I wish we could live here, walking and canoeing everywhere we need to, everyone else always near.
It is a beautiful thing to be in that quietly cultivated wilderness where Bill Coperthwaite lived. To clean, create, and imagine amid the imprints of his hand-built ways of simplicity, with others who shared time with him there.
Just that morning the community discussed the Dickinsons Reach Homesteading Residency that will start this fall. The chance for someone(s) to migrate to a wilder land and way for 4-6 week spans… Someday, maybe it will be our turn. But for now we must keep a steady hand to the bit-by-bit building of our own nest. Still, I like to imagine those who will take turns living there deeply, each for a season, to then carry back out and into their own lives.
At the end of the (sometimes long-for-little-legs) Dickinsons Reach Trail…