I’m back home in West Virginia today. From 1979 to 1985, I lived in a root cellar of stone built into the side of a hill in a shady, narrow hollow in the Mountain State. No electricity or running water for six years–bailed the water from a hand-dug well; wood heat; kerosene lamps. Wood cookstove. Canned venison. El Camino. Sarah Palin has nothing on me.
Nature has always held me in thrall since my early years in Pennsylvania where my backyard was the high corn fields and grassy meadows filled with ring neck pheasants, toads and Scott, Tod and Brett.
Winter, summer, spring or fall, I was breathing in the scents that nowadays conjure sweet memories if I catch a fleeting whiff of the same aroma.
Love and fear were the two primary reasons for “going back to the land.” First of all, I wanted to have a chance at survival of any number of apocalyptic scenarios. Honestly, I think of myself as “ahead of my time.” I’ve been fearing doom and gloom and the end of the world since 1974 when I read a book that made many dire predictions for the turn of the century and beyond. The gist of it was that a tenth of the world’s population would survive major geophysical catastrophe.
To this day, I take talk of apocalyptic scenerios quite seriously. 2012 looms and I envision surviving one way or the other. Actually, I’m convinced it’s my destiny to help to usher in a Golden Age for humanity. As such, I have to be prepared for every scenario, apocalyptic or otherwise. So, I am a survivalist, but not fanatically. “Be Prepared” is what the Girl Scouts taught me!
A bright vision of a life in the Garden of Eden with the man I loved was the flip side to my fear. My guy was an outdoorsman. We shared a very powerful common passion, the love of nature; to be self-sufficient and sane, living outside the “rat race”; to live in balance and harmony and as gently as possibly on the Earth; to leave her better off than we found her.
My husband and I collaborated on a poem when we were married. I told him what substantive content it should hold and he put it into verse. He did a great job, I do believe. So today I return to my land in WV—from which I am mostly absent now as I care for my parents in PA. Here, in honor of my return to my land and my husband and one of my son’s, is the poem.
Union With Nature
Before creation, naught had stirred;
Then God spoke forth His holy word;
And worlds responded. the cosmos heard;
It felt His mighty hand.
He formed the breadth and depth of space;
Paths of planets, the starry trace;
This world of ours fell into place;
The seas, the sky, the land.
And when all finally came to rest;
The Lord was pleased, and man was blessed;
In nature god is manifest;
To those who are aware.
Woodland and meadow sing glad refrain;
Seasons emerge, and seasons wane;
Nature’s mysteries themselves explain;
To those who truly care.
To nature the two of us shall go;
To work, to worship, learn and grow;
And reap the bounty it may bestow;
Upon us, day to day.
“Unite with nature,” noble theme;
That dreamers hold in high esteem;
It’s here we’ve gone to find that dream;
And here we plan to stay.
It’s here in nature we have planned;
To have our life and love expand;
To love each other and the land;
Our intimate desire.
God grant us then, that we endure;
That we may live both hard and sure;
And if we’re worthy–if we’re pure;
That others we inspire.
So God, when He the soil did sift;
The hollows carve, the mountains life;
Made nature then His greatest gift;
The finest He could give.
No finer place to work the loam;
To have our children freely roam;
No finer place to have our home;
No finer place to live!