As I sit in the Alaska dark, waiting for Spring, I can feel the grit beneath my nails, the sweat across the back of my neck and the ache of my arms after a day in the woods. The course skin of hands, dry and stiff from the leather of my gloves, the grain of the bark against bare forearms, scraping the skin as I tug and pull a log onto the mill.
Six miles up the road from my house is the land I call home, buried beneath the depths of ice and snow, months away from weather that will allow us in. I can feel it pulling. I’ve not spent one night on its soil, nor cooked a meal under a roof within its boundaries. I’ve not grown a vegetable there, or dug a foundation, or spent a winter within the narrow walls of the cabin we’ve begun to create.
But it is my home. Just as sure as I am sitting here, I know that. For I do not own the land…the land has ownership of me.
And it is on that land I will find that which I have sought, all these years of searching, finally come to an end. It is there, amidst straight spruce and thick birch, in the depth of the fields and the dark of the alders, where I will discover a small hint of what did lie in the hearts of those homesteaders, so many years ago.
They had the passion…those frontier men and women…which is now lacking in so many. They strived forward, not seeking the future of modern civilization, but lunged forward into their past, looking for the base of what was and what was to be. They didn’t intend to be legendary…they fell into it be chance, out of a hope for something better, something solid, something pure.
And when I get there, on my land, I’ll raise up my family as I should have years ago, when I was so busy getting ahead, gathering things, and plunging headlong into the American Dream…my path mapped out before me by my peers…mortgage, toys, the esteem of thy neighbor…bigger, better, faster. Isn’t that the way it was supposed to be? In retrospect, I had a choice…I just didn’t choose to listen.
I sit here tonight in the Alaska dark, daydreaming about what will be. Months from now, when the snow dissipates and daylight reigns, I’ll trek my family home, onto the land which will raise us. And in the thick of the trees I’ll plant my children; I’ll sit upon on my porch and watch them grow.
Emmerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
And so I shall.