Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Alna, Maine

Karl with Puck, the baby Nigerian dwarf goat

In the earth, nestled right in front of me, is a giant thirty-foot yurt, that our friends from the Appalachian Trail have just put up as their new home. Karl’s inside with Cheers, as he was known on the trail, working on the plumbing system. It’s amazing to me how talented Karl is when it comes to this kind of stuff--he’s already fixed the engine on their rototiller this morning. His dad was a mechanic, his brother a plumber, his specialty is electronics, and with those three skill sets there’s not much he can’t do. Plumbing is his least favorite, but it’s always the one everyone needs help with. This is about the third impromptu plumbing job he’s participated in during the last month.

So I’m sitting in the sun at their picnic table. We drove up from Marion yesterday, stopping at Trader Joe’s for the requisite case of unsweetened soy milk before heading up to Maine. We’ve decided to go to a rally-cross race in western Maine this weekend, which gave us the perfect amount of time to visit the friends we’ve been meaning to visit for four years. It’s astonishing to me, and syncronous, somehow, that the week we had available is the same week they’re moving into their brand new yurt, and that we actually managed to get through to all of our trail friends who live in Maine, even though I haven’t emailed them in years.

I met them, Cheers and Grace, the first week I was hiking. They’re another trail couple, who are now married with two kids. They’re going off the grid, using propane heat and refrigeration and cooking, supplementing with a wood stove, and building a privy instead of putting in a septic system. They cleared this land themselves, cut their own boards with a mill they rented, built the whole platform for the yurt themselves.

We got to sleep in the yurt last night, even though they haven’t moved in themselves, after a delicious dinner of burgers made from a steer Cheers himself named and then slaughtered, with speckled leaf lettuce grown at the local organic farm. Karl has wanted a yurt for years, and his eyes widened when he saw it. Being with them is reawakening our dreams, our trail dreams, of sustainable living and agriculture, of being self-supporting and settled. They’re the right people at the right time. I just have to continue to have faith, as we move through time, that the right path will meet us as we take the next step.

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