Monday, November 9, 2015

2: Getting There

Self Portrait #1 - 1969
There was a major learning curve to overcome in order to actually build a home on a homestead created out of what was relatively raw land in the Western Mountains of Maine.  Growing up in the suburbs of New York City on Long Island, N.Y. couldn't provide the kind of life experiences to take into the woods.  Away at school during my teens, I gravitated to the woods surrounding campus with several of my friends.  We explored caves, free-climbed cliffs, built cabins and spent every free moment in the woods, even in deep snow and freezing temperatures.
I sought a higher education in the arts and made what was to become a close friendship with a young man from upstate N.Y.  We went on to search for a likely property for a homestead a few years later when I returned from California with my partner. My commitment to living in the woods caused me to change my artistic medium from brush and paints to a shovel and chain saw.
A popular publication at the time was the Whole Earth Catalog. This is where I saw there was a whole community of young people who felt the same about finding a natural life that would renew old skills and values.  The Whole Earth Catalog was a great resource for books.  "Living on the Earth", Alicia Bay Laurel, "The Foxfire Book", Eliot Wiggington, and "Owner Built Home", Ken Kern, showed the way and were inspirational. Of course the ultimate inspiration was in "Living the Good Life...",by Helen and Scott Nearing.  They made our ideals of those days attainable.