Thursday, August 25, 2005

No Complaints So Far

Mom Nature shows the artistic endeavors of a heavenly hand. I search the ground for the crooked limbs of the mountain laurel. Some old branches have shapes that no sculptor could reproduce as beautifully. We collect pieces of bark shaped like tiny animals. At our feet the other day was a tiny piece with two holes that upon closer examination looked like an owl. On the shelf it went along similar specimens. Searching now for shapes I can apply silver clay and fire in my kiln results in a lovely reproduction for a pendant or pin. My eyes are down too often and I’m missing the blue skies with the soft white clouds fluffing by.

We have a routine of sorts: in bed at sundown, up at sunup. Well, almost. We may read for awhile and when we hear that one mosquito buzzing, we head for the covers. At our southern home we stay up late watching some inane television program; here we lie in bed listening to the night sounds, trying to identify the owners. Also, when the sun disappears the cooler temperatures set in and by the time we're under cover, we're glad. The temp has gone down into the lower 50's for the last week and the next morning the sun is slow rising to a comfortable heat. By 2 pm we shed our long sleeves and enjoy the sunshine.

We are recycling our water from the cooler to a pan which keeps our mountain water for drinking. I originally said we get water from the spring, but it’s really a pipe coming out of a hill where the water comes out of the mountain. The water is checked regularly to acertain its purity. I understand the water table is low here, yet there are numerous swimming pools scattered around. The Delaware has been low, but boaters are still maneuvering their canoes around the rocks that give the river a lumpy appearance.

We are far more social here than at home. We have a lovely group of friends of all ages who seem to enjoy our company. We often fall short of reciprocating, but right now they would prefer our getting our lives in order before they have to tackle the journey up the hill. We figure that when the compost toilet is working, we’ll give a wine/cheese/demonstration afternoon. No one can come here at night without getting lost or stumping their toes getting to their cars. No complaints, though. Life in the woods has been wonderful, so far.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Night Sounds

Around midnight Richard heard a crunching on the gravel between the cabins. Listening intently, he tried to discern how heavy the movements were. No pounding on the doors, so he assumed a deer and returned to sleep. The next morning we saw slight indentions that did indicate a deer. Thank goodness this visitor didn't taste my wet underwear hanging on the nail behind the cabin!

After returning from our morning errands, which seem to occur on a daily basis, we saw a fawn-- maybe a teen?-- standing in front of the cabin just nibbling away, unafraid of our car inching up the drive. Richard, ever the photographer (and you know how all those many photos of the same subject project no feeling upon viewing them), took time to wait for the appropriate moment to snap its picture.

No matter how many times we see wildlife, we feel privileged. My friend in Wyoming sees different animals and seemed so placid when I was jumping with excitement. I’ll never get used to the sight of wild animals.

Nights we are greeted by a cacophony of tree frogs who sing until midnight. I don’t remember sitting outdoors back home attuned to the sounds of nature, other than those of birds. Either the weather is too hot and humid or too chilly. Here the nights around a fire is as alluring to us as to those multitude of campers who are accustomed to this life.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Noise and Silence

Crack! Pop! A bear, he thought, as he dressed for bed.
Pop! Pop! Well, he said aloud to no one, that bear is staying in one place.
Silence. He gropes around in the dark and grasps the flashlight, goes outdoors to find the semblance of an animal. Nothing. He returns to bed
Crack! Crack! Maybe that bear has found some honey, not me. No worry.
Four hours later. . .
CRASH! BOOOOOM! CRACK! CRACK!BOOOM! The sonic boom wakes him. He lies listening. . .a small THUD, then another, and another.He distinguishes the sounds as trees falling. Close. Thank goodness no bear...and he falls back to sleep.
Next morning he sees 75 feet from the cabin, several trees felled by one giant hickory hitting the earth.

While I spent three days in civilization Richard was staying at the cabin experiencing the tree fall. I attended a silver techniques class in New Jersey enjoying every minute of learning something new. However, after 10 days in the silent woods, the experience of the predictable hustle of civilization was a shock. I couldn’t stand the traffic noise, wishing for the backwoods.I would never have thought just a few months ago silence is truly golden.

Monday, August 15, 2005


In the eleven days since our arrival in the Lower Catskills, we’ve finally settled into a routine with basics at our disposal. We were hampered the first week by my having pulled a ligament in my foot. Richard had never played the role of Fetch so much as he did that week!

Learned thus far: go to bed when Mom N turns out the lights; use water judiciously; keep a good sense of humor to compensate for inconveniences; value premoistened towelettes and paper goods(I know, that’s not eco); enjoy more reading and writing time; be separated from news of worldly affairs; be near a launderette (some things we have to work into cologically); possess a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap.

Experienced thus far: how black the nights are. . .how calm and quiet the woods. . . a thunderstorm roiling across the Poconos, over the Delaware River reaching the Sheds with a spectacular light and sound show. . . a flock of wild turkeys tripping the light fantastic. . .the taste of spring water from its source. . . the beauty of simplicity. . . total unpretentiousness. . .

Quietness is a jewel. Eco radio deafening. Weather radio necessary. Conversations more appreciated. Solitude healthy.

At our “communications center”, a small studio apartment in town, we have a spacious deck overlooking the Delaware River. While I use the computer, Richard sits outdoors with his binoculars checking out the female rafters . . . on the pretense of sighting a bald eagle.