PREGNANT IN A FOREST
I’m 37 weeks pregnant and up at Story Road. Chris, our contractor, and another guy are working on the house today (and it is really looking like a house!). They are working on the trusses: those big triangles that shape the roof.
Vincent and I drove up here this morning. It’s about nine a.m. I didn’t get much sleep last night because I am having pregnancy insomnia. I have spent the last week or so awake from 9pm, when I go upstairs to read, until 3, 4, or 5 am. It is an existentially lonely time to be awake. My cat follows me from room to room, as I walk between them–trying to find a quiet space to rest–until he is too tired and curls himself up on the baby changing table, putting his little paws on the two stuffed animals that were given to me at the shower.
My doctor asks me what I do during these hours: I drink hot milk, eat almonds, eat chocolate, read Geraldine Brooks’ book, “Horse,” read The New Yorker, listen to Buddhist podcasts, drink more milk, worry and then finally, at some mysterious moment, my brain finally lets go and I sleep.
SYMPHONY OF BIRDS
So, I’m sleep deprived and weary, but it’s a cold spring day and a Black-capped Chicadee, an Eastern Towhee and a Red-winged Blackbird sing arias to one another, creating a mosaic of sound in the background. I settle my strange and beautiful, pregnant body into the Adirondack chair, lean my head back and listen to the symphony of birds.
I used the app “Merlin Bird ID.” It is from Cornell (just about a couple hours away from us in Ithaca, NY). Here, the bird songs imprint into this beautiful black and white strip of sound and it tells you what birds are near you. I love this app (thank you to my Mom for finding it!).
WHAT IS STORY ROAD FOR US?
After some time in the cold air, I need a tea. I walk back through the forest to the trailer and open the faulty door (the latch is broken) and enter in this weird little respite that we have set up next to the house we are building.
I say the trailer is weird because it has a certain smell that I can’t quite pinpoint: maybe closed up air and muggy water. I don’t know. But, it has a certain charm to it. We have the gas heater on and I can feel the warmth surround my body as I settle into the bench by the table. I pour water that we have brought with us into the electric kettle (we have electricity now! thanks to our contractor, Bill!) I pour the steaming water over a Rose Hip tea bag and curl my hands around a purple ceramic mug and write in my journal.
When I can’t sleep, I watch this show called “Cottage Chronicles” on HBO. It is a pretty simple show: people explain the process of buying a cottage near the ocean and redoing it to make it reflect their lifestyle. It shows cottages in California, Massachusetts and Maine. Often the people who are buying the cottage are grieving the loss of someone in their life–their parents, their husbands, a divorce. It makes me wonder what Story Road is for us. This cabin in the middle of Livingston County, New York–seven minutes from the meditation center that I go to in Springwater, twenty minutes from Geneseo. What is this cabin? It’s purpose has changed for us over the nearly two years we have spent developing it.
At first, we were set on providing an AirBnB that would accommodate the gap of short term rentals for the wedding industry. Down the road from us is a place called M & M Schuster’s Barn. It is a couple, Mark and Margaret, that turned their dairy farm into a wedding venue. We met with them early on and talked about building a more luxurious AirBnB where guests could stay for the weekend and attend the weddings.
However, I feel a shift in our thinking. We still want to rent Story Road out (frankly, we need to in order to afford this), but it’s becoming more of a country home for us. Our baby will be born in six days. We dream of having this casual, beautiful house in the forest where she could come and experience nature. Our regular house is in Buffalo and we are beginning to think of that as our city house and this as our country house. This feels a bit luxurious. How can we possibly afford two houses? But, our plan is to AirBnb or use Home Exchange for both houses. When we are not at one, we will rent it out. This plan isn’t for everyone. I know many people who don’t want strangers in their home, but for us, it works. I like cleaning our home and getting it ready for a family from some exotic, foreign place.
And, we both like the idea of spending time in this forest. Maybe next time we go, holding our little daughter, with her eyes bright with wonder as she listens to the birds sing, the trees shuffle, the frogs call out their ancient myths to one another, not minding at all that we listen in.
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