Blank Canvas

The three most dangerous animals in Maine – #3: bears, #2: moose, #1: ticks. Which probably seems backwards. The thing is, the chances of me seeing a bear or moose on my property is akin to a lightning strike, while I’ve already plucked over half a dozen ticks off of me or my clothing in just a few weeks.


For want of avoiding Lyme Disease, tick checks have become a daily routine, contorting myself in front of a mirror to examine areas unmentionable in polite conversation.

It’s no fun, and I have yet to find any redeeming quality in this experience. If anyone can find a bright side here, let me know.

The grand prize for the most annoying animal in Maine definitely has to go to the black fly.

Black fly

While they’re not dangerous in this part of the world, the females bite, and can leave a pretty painful reminder of their visit. It didn’t take me long to really appreciate the necessity of putting some kind of bug netting over my head when outside. At the peak of their season in the woods, the surrounding air seems infused with randomly swirling particulate matter.

I can tell you I’ve never been so happy to see dragonflies as I was this last week. Dragonflies eat black flies. Black flies stop eating me.

Plumbing: all the stuff you have to do in order to do the thing you really want to do

Today marks my one month anniversary in Maine. I came here to confront my midlife crisis head on. To do so via a radical change of lifestyle, by building my new home in the woods, and getting myself as close as possible to the decisions involved in acquiring resources to survive. I’m seeking greater meaning in this proximity, and my vision has been to document it all for those who might be curious.

So what have I accomplished in this last month? Plumbing. I’ve completed the metaphorical equivalent of packing my bags for the trip. And that’s not to make light of the work, which was substantial:

  • Unpacking and storing my things
  • Learning how to live out of my car
  • Setting up a basic office in town (for my day job)
  • Researching/purchasing all kinds of supplies
  • Clearing/excavating the land in preparation to build
  • A mountain of video editing and writing

Despite all of that doing, I don’t really feel like I’ve started. I feel more like I’m about to start – as if I’ve waited in a very long line, and now I’m next in line.

For sure the most important accomplishment thus far has been preparing the land for building, and installing a functional driveway – because before that I couldn’t even get onto the land except by foot.



It was a real joy to watch the excavator that I hired. His mastery of the machine was so complete it functioned as an extension of his body.

Excavator big rock

And he accomplished more in thirteen hours than I would have in months of work.

Cleared land

At the end of his fourth day, he shut down the machine, and pronounced the land ready. He had given me a blank canvas on which to paint the vision of my new home.

Arial overhead clearing

The end of his work signaled the beginning of my next journey. I felt a swell of relief, both for beginnings, and for the good work of preparation.