The electricians both wore blue shirts and blue hats. “Hello?” they called out through our thick forest.
Vincent and I had been walking in the center of the property, trying to find the spot for the yurt.
“We’re right here!” we called back. It was a warm day and the sun filtered down through the leaves. The mosquitos bit us without abandon. We smelled of bug spray.
I expected someone much older. Maybe in his 60s. Instead, we met two younger men. They introduced themselves and shook our hands. They, ironically, had a lot of energy to them.
We had heard of these guys because of someone we had just met in the Livingston Economic Development office. When I called to make an appointment, the electrician said, “I would tell you to compare prices with someone else, but I’m really the only act in town.”
You might expect “the only act in town” to be grumpy or sluggish, but they weren’t this way at all. They were enthusiastic.
“Where’s your well?” they asked.
“We can’t find it,” we said. “We have a ten foot one that we can see, but we have no idea where the other one is.”
The electrician looked perplexed, “Well, that’s no good. We have to fix that.”
I told him we might have to use a tank of water or filter water from the pond.
“That would ruin the whole vibe,” he said. “This place is going to have a lot of vibes.”
We laughed. We weren’t sure what those vibes were yet, but we knew what he meant. He told us we should meet the hemp farmers down the way. He said we’d really like them. In the car ride home, I said to Vincent, “They think we’re hippies!”
And maybe we are hippies. I want to create a homestead, a refuge for myself and other people. I want to teach people an alternative way of living, just in the same way that other airbnbs have taught me this.
We picture building a yurt with a bed and a couch in it, a woodstove, a kitchen. I want to buy nice tea for the guests. There will be a good tea kettle. The coffee will be local and exquisite. My books will be arranged for them to read. It will be a mashup of Thoreau’s Walden Pond and a Mongolian homestead.
The main electrician walked the perimeter of the property. He energetically told us ideas we could have. He said he was excited for the project. He mentioned that it was different from what he did a lot of the time. I started to wonder if this project would become his refuge. I hoped it would. I hoped he would feel happy to come to this land and dig a trench for us and bury a line and put in a movable 300 foot all-weather extension cord for us.
There is so much we don’t know about the land. We still don’t know how we will get water. We don’t know exactly where we will put the yurt. But, we are beginning to know the people in this area. We are making connections. We met the couple who owns the old dairy farm and turned it into a wedding venue a few weeks ago and now this past week, we met the electrician. We don’t all share the same political beliefs, sometimes we feel like the “city people”, but still, we really like getting to know them. We want to be genuine friends with these people. We want to feel a sense of community here, in Sparta, NY, in Livingston County.
At the end of the appointment, we stood next to a big pool of water. “My dad could witch wells,” the electrician explained. He demonstrated taking a Y-shaped branch and letting it vibrate in his hand as he looked for water.
“Witching wells?” I smiled.
“Yeah, that’s what it’s called. Witching. When you want to find the water.”
I liked that idea. It was like magic. And maybe those are the vibes Story Road will have, magic, witching vibes. Maybe one of these days we just might find that well of water.
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