…And we’ll collect the moments one by one
I guess that’s how the future’s done
How many acres how much light
Tucked in the woods and out of sight
Talk to the neighbours and tip my cap
On a little road barely on the map
Old dirt road
Knee deep snow
Watching the fire as we grow old
Old dirt road
Watching the fire as we grow well I’m sold
How many years have I dreamed and loved the first Feist song I ever heard? I don’t know. I also don’t know what the hell “mushaboom” means, but Leslie Feist is Canadian, so maybe some of my Canadian friends can help me out? I’m still learning all the Maine-ah isms. Oh, vernacular…
Anyway, the point here is that our shift from a perpetual state of being transitory has impressed a few things upon us about this new place we have chosen to plant ourselves. Our root ball has been combed out. We’re stretching our legs. And noticing some marked differences in the process.
- People gather here. Routinely. Often daily. With nothing more high tech than a coffee mug or a beer in their hands. And without having had to schedule it weeks in advance via lots of back and forth texts, emails, etc. It just happens. It’s a thing.
- Those people, who have been meeting daily at the coffee shop or at so-and-so’s place of business for an after work brew, openly invite and welcome newcomers. There is no trial period. No feeling out friend potential via a Facebook stalk. It’s just, “Nice to meet you. We do this every day around this time. Join us if you like.” And they mean it.
- In that same spirit, neighbors come by, introduce themselves, offer help, invite you to their kid’s birthday party. Seriously. All this has actually happened since before we even closed on the place.
- Strangers wave to all passerby. Even if they have Idaho plates. Even if they speed limit is 55 and you’re passing in a blink. If people are in their yard when you go by, they wave.
- Folks are plainspoken, but not generally rude. Helpful, but not obtrusive or, worse, obsequious.
- Everybody knows how to do everything… Or knows someone who does. There is a remarkable level of know-how, can-do, and general lore in your average Mainer. Rural living in a climate known for more extreme winters breeds a certain amount of self-reliance. For months, we’ve been reading books about all manner of off-grid, self-sufficient, sustainable living. But there is reading about a thing, and then there is putting that thing into practice with myriad variables and the obnoxious, persistent resurfacing of laws by some guy named Murphy. People in these parts just seem to know the how’s and why’s and can tell you about them and offer to help you without making you feel like an imbecile.
- We realized when we picked up our truck on Tuesday that before that day we hadn’t seen a stoplight in several weeks. It was almost unsettling.
- Trips to “town” are a thing and we decide which town we will visit based on our needs at the grocery and/or hardware store. We consume food, Our house consumes hardware goods. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- There is no such thing as throwing everything in a wheelie cart and parking it at the curb to be taken “away”. Yes, you could throw everything “away” in bags you set outside each Wednesday, but at $1.50 a pop for trash stickers, it’s more economical to sort your recyclables and compost your scraps for free to minimize the trash. More of this, please.
- Spring peeper song has given way to summer crickets and cicadas. Still. There are times I wake up at night because it is unbelievably, completely quiet and still. I couldn’t tell you the last time I heard a siren. Also, more of this, please.
In sum, to hearken back to the lyrics quoted above: Two and a half acres in the woods with great light and neighbors. No snow yet. Dirt road IS on the map (barely). I am sold.
#livingthedream #dreamsmatchingup #favoritedayeveryday #feist #mushaboom #ourmaineadventure #saltoftheearth #homesteadingfulltilt