Saturday, April 9, 2011

the bawling lumberjack

Does the occasional minor injury have you fighting back a river of tears these days? Does even cutting onions, at times, seem to give your inner-child an excuse to break into a sorrowful cry?  I’m not sure what it is, but lately my emotions seem to be getting the best of me at the most unexpected moments.  Today I jammed my shin between two logs while I was peeling on the pole rack, and while the result will be a giant purple bruise, it’s not typically the kind of thing that, well, hurts my feelings. It may have been the sappy, nostalgic feeling I get every spring or perhaps it was that once I was back in a less compromising position I noticed how far away I was from anyone who could have helped me if anything had really gone wrong. A few weeks ago, Oliver’s father fell off a ladder and was alone for short while, and ended up phoning Oli who came with the car and then called an ambulance. By the time Oliver got to his dad, his mum was there, but the size of the clear-cut we are all working on is just too large for total security. 

The task at hand seems more daunting lately.  When we first picked up shovels and pitchforks and began building our gardens we were driven by excitement, but more and more we are being driven by seasons and deadlines and need, and the road ahead looks longer and longer. The house itself is not even in the foreground of our thoughts – the logs we’re peeling are going into a workshop, which will temporarily serve as a kitchen and dry storage for everything we own.  We’ve put in an orchard with fruit and nut trees and shrubs and the food we’ve planted in the soil is showing signs of life. But the dry season is fast approaching and Oliver has been rushing around rigging up a gravity-fed watering system to prevent death during the impending drought.

The construction of my smithy has taken a back seat to most other things, although I did get in there to level the ground the other day. I am still on a hunt for tools, and there’s really no rush to get the building closed in until I at least have an anvil here on the island. I’m looking in to shipping solutions for a 100-pound, awkwardly shaped chunk of steel.

I think I’m feeling a little uncertain lately.  (Well, always…)  I look at the lives of friends from school and usually see something very different from where I am. Twenty-nine is approaching and I’m not nearly as grown-up as I ought to be. I think perhaps I missed the maturity train when it went by. (I’m still trying for a music career, for christ’s sake.) At the same time, I’m way more grown-up than I want to be. Not only am I part of four committees and the owner of three aprons and a Dutch oven, but I’ve decided a lot of absolute and un-renege-able stuff about my life. We’re committed to this tiny island and this huge task of building our home by hand in the middle of an off-grid west-coast clear cut.  I can’t even imagine the feeling of finality that comes with children and mortgages, but I imagine that like this, it must be enough to make you cry when you cut onions.

Anyway, things are good, but springtime sure does get me feeling wishy-washy and wishing for a few more carefree years. 

The pole rack.