Saturday, June 22, 2013

westhampton, mass

I talked to my mother on the phone today, and she pointed out that something must be happening in my life because I have been somewhat remiss from Oilchanges.  My mother is very astute, and I told her that indeed I have been busy.  The trouble with being someone who works part-time from home and cobbles together the other half of his livelihood with odd jobs is that it can sometimes be difficult to claim to be busy.  To set the record straight, I have been incredibly busy with relaxation and unpaid work.  It has taken much of my time.  Only moments ago I ended a conversation with an old friend who lives in Germany.  He has been hounding me about designing a cover for an on-demand book, "The Philosophical Golfer," that he co-wrote with a golf pro and which he will self-publish via Amazon.  I'd been missing his phone calls for several weeks and dodging his e-mails.  Today, as I was driving around Westhampton, my phone rung in my pocket.  The number showed up as +49, the country code for Germany, and so I answered the phone, knowing that eventually I would have to bite the bullet, proffer up some kind of excuse, and talk business.  We talked about our mutual friend who makes money by the truckload, and I was again reminded that I repair broken faucets (yesterday), climb on scaffolding (Thursday), mow lawns (Wednesday) and build homes (Tuesday) in order to make ends meet.  My friend who earns money by the truckload can earn in fifteen minutes what it takes me an entire month to earn; and where he puts in long hours to build what will probably be a handsome retirement, should he ever retire, I juggle many dinky jobs, am in control of almost 100% of my time, and consider myself semi-retired already.  Semi-retired and very likely S.O.L. were I to ask a bank to loan me a relatively piddly sum of money to buy some property in the hills, which is what I want to do.  

I drew this map of Westhampton and its main roads on a large sheet of graphic design paper before setting out in my car.  I've been working, on and off, in Westhampton over the past month, cutting trim and installing new replacement windows in a home on Northwest Road.  I am a helper and I get paid fifteen dollars an hour.  One might call me a fool.  I sometimes call myself a fool.  On the other hand, I learn new skills all the time, and I keep my mind interested.  Odd jobs also take me into new places, and were it not for this window installation job, I would probably not have fallen in love with Westhampton, Massachusetts.  I want to move up there, build a home, clear some land, work that land, and move further into this life in which I balance my creative life against the practical world of necessity.  Like everyone else, I have bills to pay and a mouth to feed.  Add a couple more mouths to that, and then what happens?  They say that a boy can dream, but so can a man.  A man can dream about a life he may never attain, and he can take his lunch on the side of the road.

I got this tuna salad sandwich in Florence before heading up the hill into Westhampton.  I got it at Cup and Top cafe.  WARNING: they do not put any butter or mayo on the bread, so you should be prepared for a somewhat dry tuna sandwich if you choose to purchase one there.  I often choose to purchase this sandwich, and I can tell you that it is usually very fresh-tasting and nice.  The price is reasonable, and the sandwich comes with a bag of potato chips and a pickle spear.  

I wanted to hop over that gate and eat my sandwich in the meadow, but I did not.  Instead, I sat on the side of the road and ate half of my sandwich.  I had stopped at this location because I wanted to take pictures of some land for sale on the opposite side of the road.  This is the land:

I don't know how many acres of land are for sale here, but it appears that the land is mostly wooded with a small (probably 2 acre) clearing.  There is fallow land all over Westhampton, some of which is for sale and some of which is not for sale.  Most of the land for sale in Westhampton is still wooded, which is to say it has not been cleared for agriculture.  This spot, however, has some of each.  I'm repeating myself.  

In the southern-most part of Westhampton, where it abuts Southampton, there is a reservoir called White Reservoir, and this is it.  One cannot trespass around this reservoir.  There are discreet signs tacked to the trees that tell you not to disturb the reservoir.  I looked both ways and decided that the signs were not applicable at the moment.  I climbed over the guard rail, took a photograph, and then, as a kind of punishment for trespassing, albeit only a tiny bit, I bumped my knee against the guard rail when I hopped back over it.  

Okay, that's about all I have to say today.  I'm really busy, and I need to get back to doing whatever it was that I stopped doing so that I could do this.  

1 comment:

Brialdi said...

Lesley and Vera and I assayed the land of Westhampton this winter on our occasional trips to the Straw Bale Cafe. Great hash there. During election season I was impressed by the sensible political choices being made by the local populace, as evidenced by the lawn signs. We're moving to Florence in the beginning of July, but I really love Westhampton. It feels like the Tuscany of the valley -- Tuscany in the 1950s. I have never been to Tuscany in any era. Your plan is a sound one.