Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Proof of Life

A neighbor of ours passed away a few years ago, and now his place is for sale. I took a walk to look around. I knew Mr C a little bit, he'd come by occasionally to visit. He was deaf, but could read lips, and as long as you didn't concentrate too hard, you could understand him. He also carried a little pad he wrote or drew pictures on to help explain himself. I don't know how long he'd lived here, but he told us he was spending his retirement living simple in the woods, and supported himself cutting wood. He had a "hula" girfriend in Hawaii he liked to go visit when the winter got too cold for his bones.

He really did live simply. His bachelor pad was a big garden shed--no power, no water. A propane stove, a futon, a bookshelf with an old rusty can of Chunky Soup, a Tom Clancy novel and a library book "Care and Maintenance of Chainsaws". There's an old 1940's style maytag washing machine out back. Around the property were a few unfinished buidling projects--a framed gazebo and a framed 8x8' cabin--both being reclaimed by the lichens and mosses. This old window was leaning up against the bottom of the cabin. All the buildings(or started to be a building but never got finished)were sitting with a nice view.
Found some old logging tools on a sheet metal wall(I really liked the colors reflected in the corrugation). An ancient bleached white elk antler lay between two cook pots on a small outdoor table. His car and truck are entombed in berry vines.
An old ax stuck in an oak. Wonder how long it will take for the tree to grow around the ax head?
As we walked around we thought of Mr C and I wished I'd taken him more pies. I know he loved living here in the woods, with the trees and all the critters. His home was completely plain and simple--a roof, a bed, a stove, a few books, and various implements for deboning a tree. I knew he was completely content to live here, and I was glad to have known such a person in this world.


burning silo said...

What a lovely post, and beautiful photos. I'm glad you left a comment at my blog today as that's how I found my way here. I'll be back! - bev

matt_stansberry said...

That is a great post. Reminds me a little of a book I'm reading that I would reccomend: Rogue River Journal.

wyldthang said...

Matt--Thanks for the book recommendation, sounds like a good one!

Bev--thanks for visiting, I had fun looking at your photo web site. Love your bugs and creep crawlies!