Not all has been teaching, though. About eighteen months ago, my wife and I bought thirty-five rural acres in Van Buren County, around forty miles from our home, mostly wooded acreage that we've developed with some gravel, electricity and water, and a sewage storage tank for our trailer. We were considering how to add a small cabin to the land when we decided to do something we swore we'd never do--buy an "apartment on wheels." Yes, we bought a twenty-five foot Dutchment travel trailer that we had towed to the land and which now completes our small, self-contained space out in the country. On reflection, what I had always said about larger RVs is that I'd never tow one; I never said that I'd never own one. For a reasonable price we now have a small living space on our land that just happens to have wheels.
Owning this land is fulfilling a lifelong desire for my wife, and I've enjoyed sharing the experience with her. So far we've only had a chance to spend one night this last fall in our new camper on our land, but setting up the land and the camping area has been a real learning experience for us. We've fixed fences, cleared brush, mowed grass, and generally opened up a private camping space for ourselves. The land has some beautiful features, but mostly the appeal is the privacy, the chance to truly be out and about without rubbing elbows with many strangers, their animals, and their chugging generators, unrequested playlists of music, and the social issues they're working out with friends and family. This doesn't mean we don't like to socialize; it just means that it's nice to have the option of solitude.
|December 19 photo of the river from the bridge by a fellow teacher