A legacy of peace

He would have been as taken aback by this global pandemic as the rest of us, but my dad knew all about social distancing.

In fact, that was his aim when he bought an isolated chunk of farm land more than 40 years ago.

He wanted a place where he could roam the woods like he did when he was a kid growing up in Colver, Pennsylvania. He wanted to track animals, carve paths, pick blackberries and build bridges over streams; where he could enjoy life unbidden by people and unburdened by their polite demands for civility.

“I want a place where I can cut the grass in my jockey shorts if I want to,” he told us. Thereafter, the Farm gave him a welcome respite from his busy life.

“I have to cut the grass at the Farm,” he’d say and head Up North for a few hours of solitude. As often as I’d let him, he’d pick my son Charlie up from kindergarten and they’d both head directly up there to play.

I thought about all that this week when I spent some time there in grateful social distance with various members of my family. We love everything about that place — the trails that meander through the woods, the pond we don’t swim in (due to its healthy population of leeches) but love to observe, the wide variety of occasionally intimidating animals and, most of all, the river that runs past it.

If you ask me, there is no better way to social distance and still enjoy your family’s company than to plop into an inner tube and float down a quiet river together, but still apart.

We all have a hard time connecting to the outside world when we’re at the Farm. On a really good day, if I hold my phone flat in the palm of my hand and extend it out toward a certain window, I can get two bars of cellphone service, just enough to lure me into a frustrating dance with that coy spinning wheel that says, “Yes! I know you have received a notification that requires you to open an app and No! I’m not actually going to let you do that.”

So, we spend our time in old fashioned conversation, watching the full moon rise and hearing the campfire crackle. Most often, we’re grateful for the reprieve from the outside world.

Recently, I have been especially pleased to retreat to the cabin, where I can safely hang with my people.

In this crazy world we’re all trying our best to navigate, I’m very grateful for my dad’s legacy of peace.

There’s nothing like the slow curtsey of a setting sun over a wide expanse of farm field. (Photo credit: Danni Askew)
Or a swift flowing river that is still quiet enough for reflection…
…and generous enough to tote us all downstream.
My daughter in-law Danni took this cool shot from her own tube in the middle of the river. She is the only one of us brave enough to take her phone on our floats.
We spent a lot of time on the river. We even got my mom to float. (photo credit Danni Askew)
We spent most of our time on the river. But we enjoyed other water sports as well. This may or may not be me on the Slip And Slide. (photo credit Danni Askew).
We also split some wood and enjoyed some very peaceful campfires.
My dad left us a legacy of peace and the perfect spot to social distance. (Photo credit Vince Biskupic).

9 thoughts on “A legacy of peace

  1. Laura, this was a very good read. I vividly remember your dad, and am glad you find solstice in his dreams. We are in the process of building a lake house, on 3 wooded acres, zoned for agriculture, in NC. Our neighbors along the private road in have horses, livestock, guinea hens & peacocks. I share your dad’s vision…small world. Best to all, Kevin

    1. Your place sounds beautiful! I hope you and your family make lots of great memories there.

  2. Another cool layer to your Dad I did not know. He was the real deal, we both were very blessed in the Dad department. What a lovely tip of the hat to him in this piece.

    1. We really were both blessed in the dad department Kelly. Your dad was a gem and the best hugger on the planet.

  3. There are still a lot of cool places back here in good old COLVER that your dad used to go to and i still do. As they say build it and they will come. NICK…..

  4. This is more or less exactly how I sum up my cabin experience. There is no better way to maintain social distance than in the middle of 80 acres of Ozark forest. My cabin provides me with plenty of chores to do or ignore, the forest beckons, the lake beckons, the campfire soothes, the night sounds serenade. There are some of us who just understand this.

    1. I love your description of cabin life and I bet I would love your cabin too. Enjoy your summer!

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