Alexander Selkirk was a Scot whose adventures on an uninhabited island were reputed to be the basis for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. From ‘Verses Supposed to be Written by Alexander Selkirk’ by poet, William Cowper, are these lines:
“I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute.”
When we first bought the property here in October 2000, I was inspired by a shady, cool area above where the house would be built to make for ourselves a spot. This spot is on a rise above where the house is now. There are three tall Ponderosa pines there and three or four oaks, with a line of small manzanitas in front. The mountain, which inspired us to choose this place to live, rises above all.
For the first five years we had no electricity, no water and it was a few months before we even had a flat place to park our small trailer. We needed a living room,…a spot.
The very next visit, we built a redwood table, with hand tools, the posts set two feet into the ground, with no concrete like my grandfather told me one time. Every morning I was here, about once a month, I’d bring coffee in my carafe, a blanket for before the sun rose, a magazine which never got read and bird seed. As soon as I saw morning light separate the sky from the trees, I’d be up there.
From here at the command post, as the neighbors dubbed it, we watched all the activities needed to build a home here. From here, we watched our troops, I mean the bulldozer guys, carve out the pad for our house and we were filled with satisfaction and excitement.
From my perch at the command post these words, “I am monarch of all I survey”, came to my mind as I watched my husband, arms folded, as he watched the bulldozers making their passes back and forth, moving dirt. It was also the coolest area so when the family was here during the sometimes over 100 degree heat, it would be where the kids would gather with their crafts and where we’d serve lunch and nap.
I planted daffodils and hung bird feeders and troughs, taken from the goat shed. I made a brush out of pine needles and yarn, so I could brush away the leaf litter, each morning. I found an old wooden chainsaw box, already painted the color of the pine needles and set it between two pines to hold extra birdseed. I made myself at home.
From here I watched our house framed from beginning to end during a week when Tractor Man was to have joined me, but ultimately couldn’t. In February of 2005, the building had started. I was alone with this unexpected joy, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner here at the table, and at the end of three days the three workmen were finished and I shook each hand. We had never spoken, but I had left them to their job and the men, I’m sure, were amazed to have an avid audience.
It’s good to make a spot of your own in the garden, somewhere that is comfortable so you will look forward to settling down there. It will be a place to simply observe in peace.