Being on The Land (#4)

When I was traveling, the big problem was always finding a place to just be. Whether that was a campsite, a parking spot, a motel, whatever, finding space to be alone, can be tough when you're on the road.

The first morning I owned the land, I drove out there with a pair of hedge clippers,  a shovel, hammock, a pellet gun and a six-pack. I set up a small table and chairs I'd brought along and spent the day plinking tin cans and hacking around in the brambles. A kid again.

The land is secluded. It's on a dirt road, off another dirt road. The property sits adjacent to the Finger Lakes National Forest. On one side is an Amish farm, and on the other sits an undeveloped property. I have neighbors, but not many.


No one has been on this land in some time, it's very obvious. I hacked my way through dense brush, scarring up my arms but it felt good. I stumbled on the occasional beer can under a tree, but it was clear they'd been there for a decade or more.

The land is an old Christmas tree farm. Parts of it are dry while others are very wet, and so some trees are healthy, some are nothing but brittle twigs, and others are rotting from the inside. There is a lot of spruce, pine, and some apple trees as well.

At one point, pushing aside a mound of dead trees which are dried and feather-light, the shape perfectly crystallized for me. Hundreds of Christmas trees, brittle, dried, perfect reminders of Jan. 2, all the trees on the side of the road. It was a perfect skeleton, like childhood unearthed and naked.

But back to that space.

It was a completely new experience, standing on land I owned. It's a canvas, in many ways. I will have to make decisions about what to do, which trees to keep, how to care for it. It can't be stolen or lost. I can always come back to it.

It exists even when I'm not there. At least, I think it does.

Posted on May 8, 2015 .