The Land of Striving

I have to admit that in the past few months I have felt some despair about this whole process of procuring land, unconventional building, and the whole project of homesteading. It’s daunting. We are essentially flinging ourselves headlong into a kind of life we have never lived before, and there is so much to learn! — Producing food on a larger scale than we ever have, rainwater harvesting and water supply challenges, building cob, compost toilets, alternative energy, caring for livestock… the list can feel overwhelming.

But the biggest obstacle has been the first step, the process of saving up enough money to buy land. We don’t want to take out a loan, most significantly because the whole point is getting away from the enslavement of our current system, including the burdens that the modern mortgage entails. Yet for a couple that has been in higher education for the past ten years with a brewery on the horizon, it is slow-going in accumulating the kind of money that it takes to buy even a modest amount of land for a homestead.

As I have described to friends over these months, I have felt like Jack White in a scene of It Might Get Loud, where Jack is reflecting on the struggle to be a legitimate blues artist as a white man. I have always been struck by his connection with this one thing and his striving for it.

Right after this scene, his voice is filled with strain and longing:

And I thought about it for a Iong time, for days. There’s this whole new world that’s just opened up in front of me and I have to figure out,

How do I get there?

Am I not allowed to get there?

I hear it with that inflection in my head: Am I not allowed to get there?

And then, about two weeks ago, we sat down and started talking about the possibilities, crunching the numbers. Identifying anything we could sell. The pearl of great price. Every little bit counts. We realized that if we really pull everything together, we are a lot closer than we thought.

On Wednesday or Thursday, I looked around at some land online on my usual review of landwatch.com and Craigslist. It has been frustrating trying to figure out where we can/should buy land, particularly whether we are going to be restricted by zoning laws or other regulations. And then, ευρισκος, we came across this land for sale with no zoning, contacted the guy (who has two sons, is going through a divorce, and is selling 60 of his 80 acres), and we are going to check it out tomorrow morning…!

Wow.

So I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. Maybe it will be just what we need. Maybe it won’t work out. But it is so AMAZING to be moving ahead on something when you feel like you’ve been treading water for months.

Inches. I’m sure there is a lesson for us in those inches in the midst of the instantaneous culture we’ve grown accustomed to living in. We’ll see how it goes.

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