Why I Went to the Woods (Part 1)

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In “Why I Went to the Woods” , Henry David Thoreau attempts to explain why he chose to escape civilization to live in the woods. (Note the excerpt from that just underneath my blog title.)

But why the heck did I go to the woods?

I wish Thoreau were here to explain it to you. It would probably sound all deep, and admirable and stuff.

But I’m still scratching my head (and I don’t think it’s the ticks, because it’s January) trying to figure this one out.

It all started on a lovely spring day in April of 2005.

Well, actually, there’s a bit of a back story (isn’t there always?) that started in the fall of 2000. The Big Bison (that’s my wonderful husband) and I had been thinking for years of buying some land in the country and building our own house. And our friend who is now known as Uncle Larry (to our kids) told us of this beautiful acreage that was near him that was being developed into a nice neighborhood. With (and this was key to Larry, but not so much to us) a golf course. My Dad was still alive. We drove back here and it took us about 45 minutes to get here from Nashville. I was positive we would never find our way back out, and never be heard from again.

But it was gorgeous. The woods. The creek. The cliffs. The seclusion.

And Dad loved it. Which meant a lot to us. At the time, he was our only remaining living parent, and the blessing of the patriarch meant a lot to both The BB and to me. Dad didn’t seem to think we were crazy. In fact, he encouraged us to do it, with a kind of dreamy look in his eyes.

The developer talked to us about 5 acre plots, and the golf course and walking trails and a swimming pool and movie stars. OK, I made the last part up because it reminds me of The Beverly Hillbillies.

But it was as yet an unpaved gravel road, and practically none of this that the developer described had materialized yet. Except the golf course, and a few really nice houses. And there’s a long road between promises and delivery sometimes.

So, we didn’t commit. We went back home and thought and thought. And life happened. And the money we had for a down payment got spent.

And death happened. Dad died the following July. So he never got to see what happened next.

Flash forward to the aforementioned April of 2005. We were living in a fairly nice old neighborhood on the fringe of Green Hills, in a very desirable, convenient location, about 5 to 10 minutes away from any of our life activities at that time. We had a creek in the backyard that attracted HORDES of mosquitoes. If you stayed outside for any length of time in the summer, you’d come back inside covered with red bumps, with your underlying complexion wan and pasty, because you’d be about a quart low on blood from where the mosquito legions had sucked you dry. And, we were having neighbor problems with some teenagers who had moved into a rental house next door, who had declared war on us ever since we asked them to quiet down a little one New Year’s Eve, since their firecrackers seemed to be spilling into my son’s bedroom window. So, even though we’d lived happily in our little house for 16 years, all was not perfect in our little suburban paradise. We felt the draw of “Land stretching out so far and wide, Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside”. (Really, does EVERYTHING in my life relate back to a sixties sitcom theme song? This one would be “Green Acres” for you sweet young thing readers.)

So, on this lovely spring Sunday, after looking through the real estate section of the Sunday paper, the BB comes to me with a little sparkle in his eye, and says, “Remember that beautiful piece of land out west of town that we looked at with your Dad several years ago?” Uh huh. “Well, there’s an open house for an already built home out there that I’d sorta like to take a drive and look at.”

Are you familiar with that Robert Frost poem called “The Road Not Taken”?

It’s one of my favorite poems of all time. Time and again, that poem comes back to haunt me.

Maybe I’ll tell you some more tomorrow.

I’ve blathered on long enough, today, I think.

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