A few weeks back I was cold kickin’ it when my cell phone jumped off the ringer. It was my good friend Bill. I could hear an elation in his voice that is usually not present. He blurted forth that he and his family had just purchased a small cabin along the Conewago Creek in northern York County.
We talked briefly before we decided it would just be better if we scheduled a time for me to go see it. He wouldn’t officially have the keys for a month or so, but we would be able to investigate the outdoor portion of the property.
The cabin is located just 10 minutes south of Gifford Pinchot State Park, so we decided to meet there and drive in one car to cabin.
It was a beautiful drive along country roads framed with farms & the appropriate animals.
We pulled up to the cabin and parked on the right side of the street that straddles his property. Up the hill sat the tiny log cabin perched on its concrete bluff overlooking the road and the meandering Conewago Creek below. The cabin sported decks on both sides of it that would be absolutely perfect for morning coffee. And the road seemed sleepy with only an occasional car disturbing the otherwise serene setting.
This will be a great place to live devoid of the daily stressors most people are faced with.
I do realize that I don’t have any photos of the cabin, that was done intentionally. Because he hadn’t officially settled yet, I thought it would be in bad taste to show photos of the cabin. Instead you’ll have to deal with the photos I took at Gifford Pinchot State Park after we toured the grounds of the cabin.
Aside from the obvious excitement that comes with buying your first house, Bill was especially excited because this property represents an archetype he has been working towards for the last decade, probably longer. Many a times discussions between my friends and I quickly turn to the idea of modern homesteading and living an off the grid existence. What steps are necessary to get there, and more importantly, what skills are required to stay there? We debate ideal distance from a population centers, cabin designs, permaculture, farming, electricity, plumbing, all of it. Even the income needed to pay the unavoidable property taxes. Heck, even how to legally avoid paying property taxes. Land trust anyone?
We have no delusions thinking it would be an easy life, but we all feel it would be a life rife with purpose. A more direct life. That doesn’t mean I want to live like a reclusive caveman, I still want lights and electricity. I wouldn’t mind the occasional trip to an outlet mall to swoop some gear. I want most of the conveniences we enjoy as modern humans, I just want significantly less of them. Despite my tendency to be a contrarian, I have never been an all or nothing type of guy. I find the path that works best for me is the one in the middle. The path where I look up how to grow my own vegetables on a satellite internet connection; to embrace the paradox of it all.
In an ideal world I would sell my photography from the perch of my wilderness hobbit enclave. Surrounded by friends, family and people committed to living a meaningful, honest, direct existence. A life dedicated to sustainable harmony and growth. Electric golf carts would tear around the eco-village in pursuit of self discovery and compassion.
A pipe dream? Perhaps. But none the less it is ultimately what I am working to achieve.
A place on earth where I am free to live in conjunction with natural law. A life that readies one for death, not willfully ignores it.
A life ruled by seasons, not quarters.
I know this is getting a bit heavy, but the news of my friend taking one step closer to his version of utopia is incredibly inspiring. As I mentioned before, after we were finished walking around the cabin’s grounds, Bill, my brother & I headed back to Pinchot and took a light stroll around the mostly abandoned lake.
This is why winter is my favorite season with or without snow, nobody goes outside around here! You have the entire park, forest, or mountain to yourself; with little exception. I guess most people don’t realize that you can stay warm if you just dress appropriately.
Unfortunately winter this year will be marked only by the absence of people outdoors and not by an abundance of snow. Not that it has been particularly snowy these last 20 years or so, but I still hold out hope every winter. Who knows, maybe one of these winters we will get a real one.
But until we do, I’ll enjoy the 40 degree winter days filled with finger tips I can feel and batteries that stay charged while idle in my bag.