It’s been 11 years since we met our dear, dear friends in our favorite Pittsburgh park. Spending time together was soul nourishment of the deepest kind. I had to catch my breath as I watched our babies meet again as almost-twelve-year-olds. So much has changed; so much remains the same.
The way this farm nestles into this little valley on this land I so love — it takes my breath away every time we emerge from the woods to find this place so illuminated. Sharing it today with a dear family friend made it all the more lovely.
Wendell Berry has a poem that describes it beautifully:
“Sometimes our life reminds me
of a forest in which there is a graceful clearing
and in that opening a house,
an orchard and garden,
comfortable shades, and flowers
red and yellow in the sun, a pattern
made in the light for the light to return to.
The forest is mostly dark, its ways
to be made anew day after day, the dark
richer than the light and more blessed
provided we stay brave
enough to keep on going in.”
— Wendell Berry, “The Country of Marriage,” HBJ: 1975
Here is our “wattle” house in progress — made from poplar tree trimmings, grape vines, and bittersweet vines. Jeffrey dug holes for the poplar trunks and sunk them in the ground about a foot deep. Then we all worked together to weave branches and vines in and out between the poplars, adding more as we are inspired. Our “haus” (as Wallace calls it) has become the perfect place for reading, playing, and popcorn eating!
We’re still debating about how to finish it off. Should we bend the tips of the poplars so that they meet at the top or leave the house open to the sky?