In The Angle of Repose Susan asks Thomas in a letter from her time settling into life in an Idaho canyon:
“Have you ever built a house with your own hands, out of the materials that Nature left lying around? Everyone should have that experience once. It is the most satisfying experience I know.”
Several years ago Lauren and I went camping near Joshua Tree. We stayed a couple of nights in an earthen hut that had been constructed with sandbags and plaster, fashioned into a geodesic dome. The sand that filled the walls had all been drawn onsite, scoop by scoop, direct from the ground.
We slept those nights with an amplified sense of our relationship to the elements that shelter, nourish, and inspire.
I haven't ever built a house with my own hands. But even now I can reach out and touch the concrete walls in the basement of the house where I live. The walls are rough with grit and harsh seams. I can imagine the digging, the measuring, the framing, the mixing, the pouring, and the laboring with expectation.
I haven’t ever built a house with my own hands. But yesterday morning I snipped spinach from Lauren's garden, leaf by leaf, for our breakfast smoothie.