This day, the way we looked at it, would confirm our commitment to the next chapter of our American Life. It was like closing the hatch, casting off the last line, executing the final deorbit burn before reentry.
We unpacked the Jeep of gear we intend to take with us to Ohio and loaded items that’ll remain in Arkansas. While we still had Mercy next to Ernie I used it to power our portable air compressor and bring up the motorhome’s tire pressures.
That routine task got complicated when a coupling blew off one end of the air hose. (I blame a hot compressor and 150psi for that.) I finished with a backup hose and we hit the road for The Mountain.
The Ozarks took a determined step toward spring on this Sunday, the perfect moment for our last visit to The Mountain before leaving for Second Chance Ranch. After unloading the contents of the Jeep into the shed, we hopped in the Ranger and drove down to the homesite.
Deb and I did a little walking, wandering around the area we call “The Amphitheater.” We took lots of photos. I chewed on some cedar berries. We moved a couple of big rocks. Mostly we just sat in our camp chairs, which we’d positioned near where the back door of the house will be.
At one point I leaned back and looked up, roughly west, through the canopy toward the deep blue sky beyond. And it struck me that every tree in front of me will come down to make room for our house.
I’m not a tree-hugger. I simply believe in stewardship. Deb and I are now caretakers of the land entrusted to us.
I got up from my chair, turned around, took ten steps and absorbed the scene — surrounded by trees, a thick grove rising from the ledge.
We’ll fell some oaks and cedars and we’ll build our house. The Mountain will be fine.
Shortly before 4pm we said our goodbyes to Deb’s cousin and hitched a ride back to the campground with his girlfriend (and her affectionate dogs).
Tonight, for the first time since June, it’s just the bus’n’us.
Mercy and the Ranger are tucked in on The Mountain. We’ll see them again when we return. A lot will unfold between now and then, and it can’t happen soon enough.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.