Hands, Stewards

Hands, Stewards

Think of the spring, think of the warmth of summer
Bringing the harvest before winter’s cold.
Everything grows, everything has a season,
till it is gathered to the Father’s fold:
Every good gift, all that we need and cherish.
Comes from the Lord in token of his love
We are his hands, stewards of all his bounty
His is the earth and his the heavens above

– John Rutter

Tonight niece March sang this with the Southern Maine Children’s Choir. Beautiful harmonies, beautiful lyric.

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And as spring takes over The Land, treasures poke up through the decaying debris of a decade of neglect and abuse.

Simultaneously we take up residence. Friday or Saturday should be our first overnight in the camper. Inches of rain are forecast. Think dogs in the dark and the mud, miles from nowhere.

This transition has some curious aspects. As I coordinated the transfer of the camper yesterday my thoughts and feelings went through some twists and turns. For months, we’ve nominally focused on “getting into the house.” Even after we made the concession of deciding to move up there into a trailer, that remained the operating context. Suddenly here we are, actually making the move — but NOT into the house proper. In a way, this move canonizes how FAR there is yet to go on the house.

On top of those mixed feelings, the camper itself is a project. It’s an older camper, well-used, well-loved. But a few things about it are balky. The windows are stiff. The fridge smells from more than a year of disuse. A smoker has used it — not overmuch, but noticeably. The propane tanks are almost empty and too old to re-certify. And the electrical system is fritzy — so much so that we have Joe the Electrician coming to check it out tomorrow.

And on top of that is our own noobie status with camper living. I find the essential fact of calling RV’ing “camping” strange to begin with. Consider that every system we’re wrestling with in the camper is in fact an identical (but miniaturized) system to those found in a built home: plumbing, electrical, sewage…. But to me, to be worthy of the name “camping,” one should be wrestling with the elements and nature directly. Just you under the sky, a fire made with your bare hands, clothes knit from birch bark, a latrine dug in peat with a stone adze….

I know, that puts me on the annoying side of that argument. Millions of people enjoy “camping” by packing all their modern conveniences onto two axles. Who am I to dismiss their fun? Plus — it’s not even relevant! We aren’t camping! What we’re doing, in fact, is in a very direct and honest way creating a simulacrum of house living — that’s the whole point. And we’re exceedingly glad for it.

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Tomorrow, meeting the electrician and then delivering a new toilet to our plumber for installation in the house.

Whenever the final “move” happens, we’re targeting Monday for the beginning of our new schedule — taking back 5 hours of commuting per day, and devoting it to creative (and hopefully money-making) projects. The ‘commute’ becomes 12 paces from the camper door to the front door of the house.

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