The next morning I awaken to the sunlight and wander into the bowels of the beast. At about 8am Mark shows up and we sit for an hour of Vipassana Meditation. A morning and early evening sit will be our routine here.
Before we get started with work that day I have an opportunity to walk around a bit and find some of the other structures lurking in these woods. As I wander through the forest my eyes, recently well trained by Ryan, see that this is a young, transitioning forest that was probably heavily logged in the last hundred years. The trees are dense and mostly about the same age, and the undergrowth is also dense. There seems to be a lot of blow down in this forest as well, typical for a young forest where many of these trees won’t make it past the hundred year mark. The pines are often the first to go, a pioneer species, they have just about served their purpose. Then probably the grand firs, leaving a forest of mostly Douglas firs and some Madrona. Even the Douglass firs here are way denser then one would see in an old growth forest. Mark tells me later that this island was indeed heavily logged a few times, and that the last logging boom was in the 1950’s. Apparently some of the actual first settlers to come to the west coast found forests where huge, nearly thousand year old trees grew on average 60 or so feet from each other. How different this is from what most of us know as a forest today!
Now it is time to build. Mark’s style of building is somewhat on the opposite end of the spectrum to Ryan’s. He is a utilitarian, it seems, and he keeps things simple. Walls are left un-plastered and floors are rarely level. He builds quick, barely even stopping to measure. Posts are placed on top of rock so the bottoms won’t rot, but there is no real foundation to most of these structures. A spike is put at each intersection where two pieces of wood meet and each right angle is stabilized with a diagonal to make a triangle, and its as simple as that. Or at least that is how it seems. But given the huge structure he created for the dance floor and his attempts to explain how it stands I know that he is obviously quite skilled to a level beyond my comprehension. By the end of the day the structure for an entrance gate to his property is up. Tomorrow we will put up the walls as he wants to have a little enclosed area where groceries and other items can be left. It’s simple, rustic, and functional.
It’s funny how often when someone is doing something right they make it look easy and effortless and its only if you see someone attempt the same feat without the same know how that you realize how skilled they were. I am sure as I begin to build my own structures I will appreciate the skills of my teachers even more as I will flounder at times where they made things look simple.
Now it is time for meditation, dinner, and bed. Mark likes to retire to his cabin for the evening just as dusk begins and he is up long before the sun in the morning.
I decide to take an evening walk before returning to my cabin. Tonight my cabin is so warm that I am tempted to sleep naked, even though it is only March and the outside air is chilly.