ghost the cat



Election Day. Say it with us: Oof.
For too many months our society has been mired in the issues that divide us, locked in stagnation over Who Dunnit and Why S/He Is Wrong. It has been a long, tough road. It has been a season that bore few fruits. Have you also felt like something is lurking just over your shoulder, waiting to pounce? (Maybe it was just our cat.) We have relished the good fortune of working with animals who care nil about politics, but we have not remained untouched by the divisive cruelty of our country. And so, for both ourselves and for you, a simple reminder: we the people are one people. Surely we can only be our best when we come together — imperfect and fluctuating and unknowing as we are. We the people have always been more than crass division and contemptuous name-calling. As a hero of ours once said:

"Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it.
Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." 

— Martin Luther King, Jr.




We have arrived. The view looks like burdock- and nettle-covered fields, and two buckling kids — Satchmo and Smithers, respectively. It looks like three weeks of blood, sweat, and tears bringing life and buzzing back into an unused 1986 camper; it looks like home for now. And our home's name is Pink Cameron.

To inhabit a new space is quite strange a thing. Muscle memory has yet to develop, so you hit your head on new things, and your reach for something on the counter falls an inch too short. Your body feels different in your bed, or maybe it's that your bed feels foreign to your body. Our life here has become an amalgamation of all of the things we imagined, and many that we did not.

If you have been following along with this blog for a little while, you read and witnessed our first impression of the camper. Paring back our belongings was an interest of ours, and we have both long dreamed of a composting toilet outhouse, but to claim that we chose this situation would be a falsehood. The truth is that we are extremely grateful for hot water, derive pleasure from lighting, and see nothing wrong with having a bookshelf devoted to vinyl and books. Camper life lends itself poorly to all of the above. Or at least this camper. We said yes to this opportunity because what we wanted most of all was to immerse ourselves in this dairy goat farm while not entering into poverty getting there. The owners at Consider Bardwell generously offered us their camper, on their farm, with a no-holds-barred approach to renovation.

Many skills were acquired along the way; many came too late. We yelled and cursed and sustained countless minor injuries. Without further adieu, a glimpse of Pink Cameron's interior from Dark + Outdated to Light + Fresh!

A few moments, even if brief or rare, have had us feeling like vignettes from a Wes Anderson film: lying on our bed that buts up to the window, reading and rereading recipes from a favorite cookbook while our cat sleeps on the shelf above, our transistor radio relaying all the daily happenings. These moments do exist, and we want to acknowledge their goodness; they are pure in spirit and leave us refreshed. Moments of genuine connection as husband and wife and members of the planet drive our will to make this work—to make Pink Cameron our home.

There are other moments, peppered in more frequently—yet disorienting all the same—where things go wrong. The times when you catch six mice in a day and wonder if the eyes of every mouse bulge out of their head when they die. Or when you have not yet built your cat an outdoor enclosure, and so resign yourself to a litter box that will live at the foot of your bed. And when the fuses and the wires and the converters and the lines exceed your level of know-how by so great a score that you live without electricity or a refrigerator. This all goes without mentioning that hearing, “Wow, you're still painting the inside?” was something of a daily phenomenon.

Wherever we haven't used parts from the farm's equipment shed to smatter together a makeshift version of Whatever-It-Is-We're-Building, we have more-than-likely gone without. Example: we built an outdoor shower using felled logs for the four posts, baling twine for supporting the shower curtains, and rocks from the forest as a drainage base. However, we have yet to begin building our composting toilet outhouse, opting instead to run one-hundred yards down the road to the farm whenever nature calls.

Here we cook most meals over an open fire—a few successes; several flops. We tried potatoes wrapped in foil thrown straight in the embers, and they came out charred to the point of inedibility. Rice came off the fire grate perfectly, as did green peppers—which blistered in sizzling, not smoking (!!) olive oil. Laundry gets washed by hand and dried by the wind. So do our dishes. Slowly, the cadence of daily life is making sense.

Our shelves are decorated entirely with things we use & consume: mason jars full of provisions, spices, and baking supplies; an oil lamp; a few dishes & cooking utensils; a ukulele & a few of our favorite books; our begleri and briki from Greece, plus a carpet from our time in Turkey. The wind chime that our farm friends gifted us is singing a gentle tune in the afternoon breeze and this place is beginning to feel like a home. Perhaps it is because of all the time that we spent trying to make it so. Perhaps it is simply because we have electricity and a functioning refrigerator. Either way, we have arrived at a moment of gratitude & satisfaction—however humble it may be. Here's to a tiny camper nestled in the great outdoors.



Photo credit for this & all images below:  Mallory + Justin   / featured on  The Wonders Blog

Photo credit for this & all images below: Mallory + Justin  / featured on The Wonders Blog

A few months ago, very shortly before moving out of our well loved tiny apartment, our beautiful friend Mallory came by with her beautiful camera. She and her husband, Justin, are something of our spirit couple. With more than a decade on us in the 'together' department, it is as if they have already dreamt the life dreams we have; already started intensely pursuing the exodus of Stuff from their lives. Together they are renovating a vintage motorhome + hitting the road permanently as traveling photographers! They will be in quest for mountains, joy, and intention. Let me reiterate: spirit couple. When Mal asked if she could come over for coffee and picture taking in our apartment for her just launched The Wonders Blog, "for all the things we wonder about," we quickly said yes. Her blog is full of magic. No pretense or formula about it. We are honored to be a part of it.

The images Mal took of us glimpse the genuine joy Mark and I are both beholden too. He pacifies me. My fiery heart he cools. Today happens to be his birthday. This particular 24-year old is a man whose life and actions warrant celebration. Others — people, animals, land — are made better because of him. We ought to celebrate more often the things in life that better the world around us. I'll go first.

Because of my husband, my life holds a sea of meaning I cannot describe in word. A meaning so intertwined with his being that when I look at him, I see my own heart; overflowing, struggling, growing, gripping. The deeply in love among you will likely understand this. How blessed we are to hold an honest, young love that will someday, God willing, become an honest, maturated love. A joyous birth day indeed. 

To read + view our interview on beekeeping + where we draw inspiration, visit The Wonders Blog.
To view the images of our mini love fest, head over to M+J's photography blog.