Standing By the Water
About Standing by the Water This CD is dedicated to my wigwam. The place I lived in for five and a half months this past winter (2005-2006). I'd recently bought 18 acres south of Ashland, WI and couldn't afford rent and land payments so I decided to build this structure and live in it for as long as I could to help save money, and of course just because I wanted to try it out. It was about 22 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 7 feet high, roomier then most trailers. I covered the frame with drop cloth canvas, then laid straw bales all the way over the top, and then covered that with two layers of plastic tarps. I got a wood stove from my friends the Sauter-Seargents for helping them move, and Andrew Sauter-Seargent helped me move it. So for quite a while I lived very comfortably, it was warm, generally easy to heat, the floor was plywood boards and old construction palettes with carpet over top so it wasn't all that well insulated. The plus side was that I sunk a lot of heat into the ground so if I ended up being gone for a while the place took a long time to freeze up. Generally about three days. If I got cabin fever, I was less then a five-minute drive from town and could go hang out at the bar or the coffeehouse and hobnob. Things could've gone on like this until spring, but sadly one night, after I had loaded the wood stove up to the brim with kindling I left to collect more wood, and when I got back the place was sauna, and the stove pipe was glowing red. The temperature gauge read 900 hundred degrees, as far as it would go and I looked like it wanted to go much farther. I put the damper on, the gauge started to go down, the stovepipe stopped glowing, I breathed a sigh of relief and went off to get a can of corned beef hash (one of my vices) from the car- parked two hundred yards away. About halfway back I lifted my head up from the icy trail and saw and orange tongue of flame licking it's way up out of the door of the wigwam. My heart leapt, I muttered 'oh god' under my breath and started running, tripping and falling in the deep snow, my mind racing on all the things inside. My set of smallpipes, a mountain dulcimer, a home-made fretless banjo, all my journals and photographs, blankets, books, clothes, food. I stopped halfway realizing I would never make it in time, so I ran to the neighbors house and called 911, then ran back to see if I could at least stave off the blaze. When I got there I tried shoveling snow on four foot sections but after they were out and I left them they just started up again after a few seconds, the heat was so intense from the burning wood floor and straw bales It was scorching the trees many feet away. There was nothing left to do but watch it burn, even the fire department after running through the woods couldn't do anything but move my freezer full of food put up from my garden. Well it's gone now and there's nothing I can do. It's not been hard letting go of all my things, kind of freeing in a way. At least now I have a nice level place for my maple sugaring operation.