Thursday, February 01, 2007

Why Saxapahaw?

A month ago I moved to Saxapahaw, an unicorporated community 15 miles west of Chapel Hill/Carrboro in neighboring Alamance County. The town is named after the Sissipihaw Indians who used to live in this area. It was something of an impetuous decision adding 15-20 miles to an already long commute to Raleigh for the real job. My work day now starts with me leaving my loft at 6:40, driving 17 miles to the park and ride, catching the bus to Raleigh, another 30 something miles, arriving at 8. If I catch the 5:40 bus back I make it to Sax at 7, for a 12 hour day.

Why, you the average, sane person might ask, would I do that? Well my third floor loft is in an old converted cottom mill with beautiful redone maple floors, a 15 foot ceiling and 2 big windows looking out over the Haw River (photo above). I watch the sun rise and set over the river, I walk along it listening to the river running over the rocks and see Venus rising bright in the west.

A big heron lives here and today, home because of the weather, I saw wood ducks and mallards (I think) and several other species of birds. At dusk I saw what I assume is a beaver swimming upstream. Maybe a river otter.

30 years ago the Haw ran red, yellow, blue or green depending on what dyes the textiles mills were using that day. Now, 10s of thousands of North Carolinians have lost their jobs at those mills but 100s of thousands of plants and animals have benefited. The river is now a haven for canoeists and kayakers and flows (reasonably) clean.

Soon I'll have a kayak and I'll be able to put in right by the mill. There is great camping downstream on islands and bank areas. So I accept the commute and the lack of civilization. And I paint.

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