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Land Hunting, Part Ten: Re-Engaging

by Tara

As the sun sinks toward the horizon, we pull off the road, wheels crunching over the rutted dirt drive of a lakeside "Fish and Wildlife Area," hoping to find a secluded place to sleep. There's a truck parked near the shore, so we sit for a few minutes, peering over the dash, feeling like we're on stakeout. Slumped in our seats, we're each lost in thought about this land project of ours. A few minutes later, a woman appears in a kayak.

As she struggles to lift her water-logged vessel into the bed of her truck, I ask Tyler despondently, "Should we talk to her? Ask her about land in the area?" "Probably", he replies, shrugging his shoulders with indifference. I sigh. There was a time not so long ago when we held each other accountable for this sort of life-sapping behavior, a time when we practically forced one another to engage in the world, even when we didn't want to.

Now, feeling disconsolate about our empty-landedness, and drained by thoughts of our home life and its ongoing, all-consuming drama, we've slipped into a grumpy, sluggish, hopeless way of being. Nearly inaudible among the drone of complaints my ego is feeding me, a quiet voice whispers, Why can't land-hunting be an adventure, just the same as our trip? Where has our resourcefulness and perpetual optimism gone?

As I repeat these thoughts to Tyler, we both have a moment of clarity, realizing that we've wandered completely off-track. When we were out in the world (why does it feel like we're not "out in the world" right now?), we talked to everyone. We unabashedly told our story and shared our dreams with anyone we met. In doing so, we made many friends.

Somehow, being in a country where we speak the language feels more isolating than the remote reaches of Siberia ever did. Ignoring the lonely black cloud we've been creating above ourselves, we remember a most important thing: this land search being a grand adventure or a futile search fraught with drudgery is simply a question of perspective. Surely the Universe provides, even in America.

Allowing ourselves to engage, slipping into the current of life's grand adventure, we get out of the car, put on our best smile, and walk towards the woman, waving hello. I'm surprised by my shyness—this was easier with a big bicycle and a language barrier! Reaching the shore, we offer to help lift her kayak into the truck-bed. With a slight "I can do this myself thankyouverymuch" look on her face, she declines, finally heaving the tail end of the thing in place.

Kayak taken care of, we introduce ourselves and it is thus that we meet Sue. We get to talking, and ask if she knows of any land (Perhaps by word of mouth? Anything unlisted?) for sale in the area. She says doesn't, but her husband, an electrician, might, and she'll be happy to put us in touch and help in our search in any way she can.

A few minutes into our conversation, I'm feeling sheepish for harboring even the slightest bit of nervousness. Sue is a total sweetheart! Before we part ways she wraps up both in strong hugs and wishes us the best of luck. As Sue pulls away, waving from the window of her truck, brightly-colored kayak hanging out the back, Tyler and I smile, returning to our little silver car feeling much better about the world.

It is getting late, so we drive over a muddy, rutted berm, into fairly well-hidden lakeside seclusion. As Tyler programs, his expert fingers typing their well-choreographed tap-dance all over the keyboard, I recline my seat and fall asleep under the icy spotlight of moonlight in Vermont. I'm fine to sleep in the car, so exhausted am I, but Tyler decides to set up the tent when he is through.

Moonlight in Vermont (and our Car)

A few hours later, we've crawled into our rip-stop nylon shelter, feeling the distinct sensation of comfort and normalcy. Snuggled in our trusty tent, cozy in our double-wide sleeping bag, camped in a patch of wilderness all our own, still beaming from our encounter with Sue, I am happy and contented.