We, well, Phil, had to dig a big hole and we built an outhouse. That was a total bitch because the ground was all ledge and hard as rock with huge, tough roots layered all throughout. And I wish I had a picture of the outhouse because it was made of all mismatched, scrap wood. It tilted to one side and was so far from the cabin I refused to go out there at night. At least not alone, as you could often hear the coyotes howling and running past in the bordering woods.
If you look closely, you can see just the edge of the tailgate of the truck. This was as close as we could drive, and this was in the fall when we first moved in. Once the snow came we were pushed further and further away until we were out by the road. But spring was the most difficult, with the mud and melt water. As the weather warmed, you would step and suddenly sink knee-high in the sloshy, granular snow. Even the road leading up to our driveway was treacherous that time of year. It was very steep and winding, and as the water washed down the mountain, so did the road itself. Huge sections would be washed out with water and gravel rushing in the ruts threatening to remove even larger sections from underneath the tires.
This is what the woods looked like on one side, the one closest to the road which was far enough away that you couldn't hear a car drive by. The other side was denser, dark pines falling steeply to a small river. You can sort of see the small, white figurine along the tree line. This was a saint, I believe, belonging to the woman who rented the place. We had explicit instruction that he was not to be moved. Whatever, he didn't bother me. But she also left her dog. And this did bother me. It was one of those huge, maremma sheep dogs, the big, white, fluffy ones seen hanging out in fields amongst sheep, obviously. Only she raised it using a theory she had developed to try to keep the dog as free from human control as possible. But what she ended up with was an enormous, mean dog who was so miserable you couldn't even get close enough to feed it without it trying to take off your hand. I love animals and I'm not generally scared by them, but I was wary of this dog. She had him chained to a tree in the corner of the yard near the wood shed. The chain was far to weak to be used for a dog of such bulk and he routinely escaped inevitably leading to a visit from the nearest neighbor irate because the dog attacked his sheep. The dog must have been starving and thoroughly stark raving mad to do this as it is truly not in their nature to attack the very animal they are bred to protect. In most healthy maremmas they see the flock as their pack, their duty to watch over, majestic and serene. This dog was loony. I tried to be nice to it for a while, thinking maybe it would calm down and we could keep him, but I just didn't have the ability to help this dog. I kept asking her to find him another home and she would say weird shit like, "I don't think I can find anyone to take him. Maybe I'll just shoot him and make a hat". She wasn't kidding. One day he was missing and we though he escaped again, but he never came back. Maybe she did shoot him. Maybe a neighboring farmer or pet owner did when he attacked their animals. I don't know.
This is Bob and Miss Guggenheim, the two dogs we had when we lived here. I named Bob, I'm not really sure where the hell he came up with the other name, but whatever, we called her Googy. They were a mix of Rottweiler and pitt bull and they were huge. In this picture they aren't even six months old. When we broke up he kept them because he stayed in the cabin and I lived in my truck. I haven't spoken to him since, mostly because I don't know where he is, so I don't know where they are either. That's sad.
It's difficult to see just how much damage was done, but there was so much snow that year it piled so high on the deck it disconnected from the house. We shoveled it from time to time but it would come sliding off the sleek metal roof with such force I'm not sure we could have avoided it.
This is the only pic I have of the inside. It was pretty with all the windows and the golden colored wood. It was often very peaceful and I felt like I was doing something that mattered, I don't know why. But living like that takes so much time and hard work. And it not being our own house we couldn't adjust it to suit our needs. If we had owned the land it would have been worth putting up solar panels and then we could have run a small fridge at least. We had a propane stove, it was mini and the propane tank sat right next to it under the counter. Safe, not a fire hazard at all.
I miss being younger and feeling like life went on forever. I miss loving someone so much that it hurt. I miss being strong and agile and so fucking sure that it was possible to change the world.
Of course there are so many things about getting older which are worth waiting for. It's unfortunate that as we gain awareness and confidence, we lose stamina and passion. Not that getting older means giving up, it doesn't have to. But when you're young you don't understand what it is to have the burdens that accumulate over time. If we understood then, maybe we could avoid limiting ourselves so much as we age. By the time a lot of us realize what has happened we are stifled by fear and insecurity, making change almost impossible.
Anyone reading this would probably scoff if they truly knew what my life consisted of. I am very free compared to a lot of people. I'm relatively young, I don't have kids tying me to one person or place I'm unhappy with, I have a job I could change at any moment. Basically, I could do whatever I wanted with very little negative consequences if only I weren't such a sissy. Even with my relative freedoms I still feel as if the pressure to conform is overwhelming me. Like a big, dead weight dragging me down. It's a constant drilling into me from every direction....have kids, buy a house, get a better job, get married, blah, blah, blah. I feel like we are offered this very limited number of templates from which to choose the life we want and if none of those work for us then it must be us that isn't right, not, of course, that there aren't enough options from which to choose.
Well, I don't know what possessed me to write about this tonight. I needed something time consuming to occupy my thoughts. I hate being in between books. I just bought Gravity's Rainbow but I'm having a hard time getting into it. I like the style but I think there are a lot of references that I'm either too stupid or too young to get. I'm of the opinion that if you have to force yourself to read a book, unless it is for school or you are really, really determined, why bother? Maybe I'll read it one day, or maybe, like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I'll start it twenty times and never read it. I suppose everyone can't like the same things. How bland would that be?