I am not sure how much time has passed when I awaken, but the boat is rocking quite a bit and I am thankful I was able to sleep away at least some of the ride. Soon we are approaching shore and I do my best to shake off the sleep and get ready to meet Mark.
Mark spots me right away as he knows pretty much everyone else on the ferry and introduces himself to me with a warm hug. He helps another lady with some of her boxes and then we get into his little car, every inch of which is painted with bright colors and images that I assume represent snapshots of island life.
After a short uphill ride on bumpy dirt roads we arrive. He tells me to keep my pack on, as we will take my things right to my little cabin, that he has preheated for me.
My cabin, a small ten by ten room with two large windows, is indeed toasty. The walls are simple; unfinished wood scraps from the mill with cob in between them. He explains to me that between the inner and outer walls are hundreds of plastic bags, which have amazing insulation value. The sub floor is also bags of bags compressed before and earthen cob floor was applied on top. And the roof too is about 2 feet thick and apparently filled with bags under a top sod layer in which plants are growing. This little structure will easily stay warm overnight from one good fire lit in the firebox that is fed from the outside. He explains that by having the entrance to the firebox fed from the outside it keeps the fire from pulling warm air out of the structure and creating a cold draft.
As we go back into the main structure on Mark’s land he says somewhat apologetically that he forgets to tell people that he lives basically outside. I already feel at home.
This structure is hard to put to words. Composed of many, huge wooden arches, crisscrossing one another, it feels like I am in the bowels of a many-legged spider. Mark has created spans of close to one hundred feet that encase a beautiful, open, hard wood dance floor. The space is sheltered from the wind and rain but exposed bedrock on all sides and spaces between the boards and windows give it a feeling of being part of the natural world. It feels somewhat like a cave but sunlight shines in, with only parts of the roof covered in sod, and so the space is quite bright. My mind is trying to figure out the engineering of this place and doesn’t even know where to begin. Indeed, an ancient bridge called the rainbow bridge that still baffles modern day engineers was the inspiration for this structure.
Food here seems to either come in bulk from off island or directly from the land. After a hot meal of rice and chicken, with a health y dose of Turmeric on it (good for the joints and inflammation) and a Cesar salad of cabbage from the garden with lots and lots of garlic in the dressing, Mark makes sure I know how to find the bathroom (a simple wooden outhouse) and how to get myself water and excuses himself for the night.