Up in the woods there is a spot where the ledge rises out of the ground at the apex of a small hill. It is smooth, exposed for the entire width of an old logging road and just a little more, maybe 25 feet long. I have this idea that I will someday build a cabin atop it. I’ll cantilever the carrying timbers over the arc of the stone, as if the structure were balanced on the rock. As if it were caught in the midst of a fall.
More and more I like the idea of dwellings that are not intended to outlive their occupants, that decay in some approximation of human time, useful to the rattle-breath end (maybe a bucket here, a bucket there to catch the rainwater seeping through the roof, and if it falls on the bed, move the bed), but then allowed to slide back into the ground.
Leave it be. Let it rot. Let those who come behind me build their own damn house. Let them make it simple and just sturdy enough to outlast them by a day, maybe two. I’ll tell them not to mind the cracks in its facade any more than they mind the lines on their face; suggest that they accept the lean of its foundation as they accept (if only because they must) the tilt of an aging body; point out that the quirks of a house in decline are not dissimilar to the peculiarities of human character that only develop with time, experience, and a certain amount of hardship.
Oh, and one other small piece of advice: Put the bed on wheels.
18 thoughts on “Put the Bed on Wheels”
But Ben. On bad weather days, you might be looking at a nice tightly-built neighbor’s house with interest. The grass is always greener, etc.
This reminds me of Thorn’s hut in Season 1. Nobody likes a river flowing through their hut. Not many people like to live in a hut for that matter.
Seriously though, you think I plant trees for posterity, for my children, for ecologic diversity, because it is the right thing to do? No no no no. That’s not why I do it at all.
Best post ever. Thanks, Ben – I needed this today.
I say put that half-assed built on wheels and push it into West Virginia. I say preserve that ledge forever free of all humanizing. I say wait out a storm on that rock, or rage like King Lear on that rock, or stand naked on that nakedness, the sky above, the rock below, your wild soul tripping in the middle.
I don’t know. That sounds uncomfortable.
I think this is allegory. I think this could be allegory if we wanted it to be. Hewitt is probably serious but we need not be.
I think it might be both: Allegorical and serious.
And owe you an email, sorry!
Now you’ve opened the subject of death. Of impermanence. I wonder if you would tackle that subject for us.
I just last night finished the book “Gene Everlasting” by Gene Logsdon in which he discussed these thoughts regarding his own cancer diagnosis. I enjoyed his perspective which was far from depressing but not falsely positive either, just honest.
It may be allegory. It may just be Ben’s reflection on his construction skills.
yeah, this one got to me. good timing. thanks, ben.
That’s pretty sassy. I didn’t know you could get sassy with this subject? If people had to build their own houses….hey, maybe we wouldn’t have 8 billion people on the planet!!!
If you haven’t already, I’d recommend checking out the novel “And the Birds Rained Down”, by Jocelyne Saucier. Some excellent scenes of old men living in shacks in the woods.
God Ben …you sound like my slightly wayward brother there …maybe that’s why I enjoy your posts so much …maybe you remind me a bit of him in a weird way …oh …and that’s a compliment by the way:)
My bed is on wheels right now and no one can guarantee how long wheels last either, but I do like the ledge idea too. 🙂
I was talking to some people in Lithuania about new construction here and they said something that made me laugh: “we do not build those paper houses like in America, we build to last forever”.
Well written, if a bit dark. You had me with your descriptive prose. Thank you.
This post reminded me of Michael Pollan’s “A Place of My Own.”
This is beautiful. Thank you.