Once upon a time there was a very intense Jewish boy (think young Al Pacino, only more menacing than Michael Corleone) who was rebelling against society. He wanted to live a sustainable, organic life in the country, grow his own food, use only the sun and wind for energy. He lived in NewYork at the time but on weekends would travel through remote areas of Vermont in search of the perfect piece of land. He finally found it: one hundred pristine acres with a view of three states, half forest, half fields, a brook. The forest was filled with oaks, maples and birch, birds and bats, bears, deer and foxes.
The land cost very little and the young man wondered why so many fools before him had passed on the purchase.
On the land was an abandoned apple barn, known as the largest barn on all of Vermont. The roof was shot and the superb oak of the barn was not going to survive the coming winter. Repairing the roof was too expensive, so what to do? The oak had to be saved. So the crazy young man with the help of a few other crazies (they seem to abound in the seventies) dismantled the barn with their bare hands. But the barn was really, really big, and it had been built to last. It took an entire summer and the special manufacturing of six feet long
pliers. (Correction, the six feet long tools were crowbars. My husband just read this and he had a good laugh.)
During this time the Jewish boy from the city lived alone in a genuine tippi, making brief, unshaved, unwashed appearances into the village where die-hard Vermonters shook their heads in disgust.
In the end, the young man ended up with what could be the largest pile of oak board in all of Vermont.
The young man also soon discovered that the land was so riddled with rocks that it could never be tilled. But he had a dream of sustainable farming and was not going to give up that easily. So he spent months hand picking the stones on over fifty acres of land, building nice muscles and going half insane.
In the end he found himself with a whole lot of rocks. And a whole lot of oak planks.
So what’s a crazy to do with a lot of land, a lot of stone and a whole lot of oak?
By the time the quarter mile long driveway was built, the stone foundation was laid and the cabin was built, the young man was not quite as crazy anymore, or maybe his dream had changed.
He found a renter for the brand new house, packed his bags and moved to France.
There he was to face his greatest challenge yet. But thing happen for a reason. His time in Vermont had prepared him for what he was about to live through. It had taught him strength, patience and resiliency.
Skills that would definitely come in handy… being married to me.