“I am one of those who has no trouble imaging the sentient lives of trees, of their leaves in some fashion communicating or of the massy trunks and heavy branches knowing it is I who have come, as I always come, each morning, to walk beneath them, glad to be alive and glad to be there.” –Mary Oliver, from her 2016 book of essays Upstream.

Mary Oliver’s quote is the reason why we bought “Story Road.” It is the trees. To be among trees is to be among something holier than oneself. It is connecting to those, as the Eagles would say, peaceful, easy feelings.

A week ago, when Vincent and I went on our exploratory trip to Story Road, we stopped at a winery (O-Neh-Da Vineyard) and talked with one of the owners. She told us that the land in Livingston County was sacred. At first, I thought this was a little hippie-dippie, but as I walked Story Road’s forest, I thought, you know, she’s exactly right.

So, what does it mean to own a forest? How can we build on it in a way that keeps the eco-system in tact? How will the land challenge us to look for environmentally sound ways of getting our basic needs: water, power, heat, shelter? How can we invite people to stay and to leave feeling more connected to the trees? More connected to themselves?

These are the questions that are guiding us as we try to figure out the very simple things of the land: how to get water, electricity and heat on it. We spent Monday and Wednesday camping in nearby Stony Brook State Park. We met with well companies and learned that we will either have to drill an entirely new well or that we will need to filter the water from the pond using a UV filtration system.

So, the work begins. The small problems that will get sorted, but they keep you up at night, those annoying little thoughts before you go to sleep that try to tell you that you can’t do something, but in the morning, you wake up, and maybe it is raining outside, maybe you make yourself a cup of Typhoo tea and you sit with new thoughts that tell you: this isn’t impossible. Nothing ever is.

Places to visit that were mentioned in the post: