When wild animals experience a near death experience, say, a deer gets chased by a mountain lion and then escapes, it will run to a safe place, stop and shake and shiver all over. They deal with the trauma, then carry on, doing what deer do. For human beings, it’s unfortunately not always so simple. Sorry for being so dramatic here, but my point is, if you ever see all of your hopes and dreams come into contact with an obstacle, let’s say it’s a tree, the experience can be a bit traumatic. I’ve had a couple days to do my version of a shake and shiver and now I’ll try and tell the story to my dears.
The tiny studio moved to it’s hibernation home in a grassy field on my uncle and aunt’s property in southern Vermont, two days ago. It sits between some wild echinacea, grasses, and prickly blackberry bushes. It’s now leveled, sealed, and ‘buttoned up’, as my Aunt Lisa would say.
On moving day, my folks all came out to help. The idea was to drive the tiny studio from where it was beside a barn, down a dirt road, turn down a slope and into a neighboring field. This estimated 10 minute excursion took 6 hours… Now how? How could something so simple take that long? Well, if one got stuck in a tree, it could take that long… longer still if it were not for a certain little tractor. I’ll just skip the part where I look like a fool, and go to the part where my uncle saves the day with the tractor.
There were a few issues right at take-off. After pulling out the driveway, from the barn we noticed the air pressure in the tires had gone way down, not major, but concerning since I had no air pump. I drove the studio partway down a slope heading into the field and it was not going to make the turn. From one narrow road onto another, the circumference of the truck and trailer turning was wider than I estimated (Oh grade 8 math you have failed me again!). Instead of wiggle room, there was a narrow road, with small gorges on both sides, and a low hanging tree, which was about 4 feet from the corner of my roof. Now before you start judging, it wasn’t as though I hadn’t thought of these things, but like every other stage of this project, I knew there were going to be some challenges, and the decision to muscle through had honestly worked up till now.
Driving down this bumpy slope also made it near impossible to back up, so I became stuck, for a long time. At one point the trailer rolled forward into a tree. I saw it happen, and a few seconds after I saw stars, pearls of cold sweat formed on my temples, brief blackout. Perhaps that seems dramatic, but I had never really hurdled this thing through space before, you feel the dangers of the whole thing viscerally. I did not cry, but was in total shock and had no idea of the damage I had done to the tiny studio. My uncle had the idea of pulling it out of the tree, backwards, and then pulling it safety with the tractor. He helped me attach a chain to the axles under the trailer, and we hauled it backwards then pulling it forward down the slope and gloriously to it’s safe haven. Amazingly, should I say miraculously, the tree actually did very little damage, and in fact saved the studio from rolling down the hill solo.
So went my embarrassing and dangerously naive moment! With two scratches. One for the tree, and one for the studio. They are now blood brothers and will be forever connected, though hopefully never so close again.
In the past few weeks it became clear that I was not going to be able to finish the studio, exterior/interior finish electric etc, this fall. Two reasons for this; I don’t want to go broke, and I have some cool opportunities awaiting me on the west coast. There is perhaps a third factor in all this as well, let’s call it, the elephant factor. I do not yet have a geographical place I call home. The cosmic joke is, I need to find a home for my home. When I began this project, I thought I would be living somewhere, with someone, in someplace, and that all completely changed. Instead of giving up on the project, I continued, and now it’s 3/4 done. The last leg of the construction journey however, will have to wait until the spring. Then I will have some new resources (i.e. $$$) some fresh energy and inspiration, and hopefully by then a clearer idea of where I am going to be for the next while. I have a really exciting plan for siding, interior floors, and hidden bed, a movable kitchen, the installation of tiny wood stove, and so on. But it will have to wait. In the meantime I will be driving across the United States, documenting any unique living situations I see, and landing in B.C. for the winter. I will be back in the Spring to complete the project and perhaps help some friends with their building projects as well!
Part of me wishes I could stay for the winter and continue working on the studio, but it’s more sane to take a break from it, and come back when I have the time and resources. I can’t wait to pick it up again… especially considering recent material donations to the project! (next post)