While the writing and tangible progress of this project seemed to be at a complete standstill for almost a year, some things were continuing, namely the slow process of educating myself about what exactly goes into building a house from scratch and how to find people who were interested and willing to be involved in something so small being done on a shoestring budget. Clearly while I might go broke on this, no one else was going to make much on it. On top of that it was a case of finding people I had reason to believe I could trust and who would be willing to work with someone who promised to ask a lot of possibly (probably?) stupid questions. Fortunately I have lived in this area long enough to feel confident about the trusting part. I just didn’t want to try anyone’s patience too much.
Let’s get to the learning part. As already noted the well was dug December of 2010. How do you find someone to dig a well and how do they know how to find water? Let me go back a few years and tell you about dowsing.
Way back when I was camping out someone I knew who was connected with an amateur dowsing club approached me about the group wanting to find places to practice their skills. I thought that was a fun idea and a date was chosen for us all to meet at the property. If I remember correctly there were two men and three women who came on a Saturday morning. One man stands out in my memory particularly because he came up with interesting details and stories. He was new to dowsing but had some past experience working with local law enforcement on more than one occasion as a psychic using psychometry, a form of ESP characterized by the ability to make relevant associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object. Apparently he had some gifts in that direction. Two things he came up with – one having nothing to do with water and the other very precisely to do with it.
The one having nothing to do with water was a little eerie – or a lot eerie. While one or two of the others found one particular area of the wooded land to feel somewhat negative and suggested that I not build near there, this gentleman, with some demurring, said he sensed that blood had been spilled at a particular spot under the trees. More than that he felt that a young Native-American woman had been pursued and murdered there sometime in the distant past and that her body had never been found and mourned over. As a consequence her spirit still lingered. He marked the spot for me so I would be sure not to build in the vicinity. I was fascinated and tucked the information away in the back of my mind to think about later.
The second, having to do with water, was his marking a spot a good distance away from the first where he felt there may be an aquifer maybe some 225 feet down that would bring 44 gallons a minute. He marked the position with flags. Here’s the map the group sent me several weeks later with the result of their efforts.
Fast forward about ten years and I was finally thinking about locating a professional, or at least experienced, dowser to suggest a promising location to find water. I had positioned the house at the end of the driveway that came in on the right-of-way between two other properties that bordered the established road. There were limits to choosing a well site due to logic and the county requirements regarding how far from the house and property line a well needed to be. So after a couple of inquiries about dowsers produced no leads, I decided to go with a friend’s recommendations and contacted a local company that had been digging wells in the area for a long, long time. I figured if they had been successfully doing business for that long they probably had dowser’s intuition even if they didn’t call it that in their ads. I was fortunate that with their first attempt they hit 25 gallons a minute at 320 feet about 150 yards from where the amateur dowser had placed his flags. Maybe it wasn’t an aquifer at 225 feet or exactly where it had been marked but it’s still a lot of water pretty close by. The well digger said I could provide enough water for all the other houses around. (There aren’t that many of them but still…)
Not to let the first story go without a conclusion, a few months after the dowsing group had been there, and I had mentioned the tale to my older daughter, we decided to hold a ‘wailing’ at the marked spot to mourn any tragedy that may have occurred. I brought a portable cassette player into the woods with a tape of Native-American drum music that I had and my daughter brought some sage. We lit the sage and smudged the general area with focused intent to bless and heal and release whatever spirit might be lingering. We played the tape and wailed along with the drums. A hawk circled overhead and flew away into the distance. My daughter said, “She’s gone.” We packed up our stuff and walked quietly away. Better to err on the side of the angels.