Heather and Logan Ward and their son Luther moved from New York to Swoope, Virginia (in the Western part of Augusta County, where I also live) in the Spring of 2001 (at about the same time I moved here to the Southern part of the county). Their plan was to move not only in space but also in time as they began their “1900 Project”—a year in which they would live as if the year were 1900. No car, no electricity, no phone. You get the picture. Except you probably can’t really get the picture and really should read the book that resulted, the just-published See You in a Hundred Years. It’s a rewarding (and surprisingly compelling) read of how Heather and Logan rediscover each other and in the process learn so much, far more I’m sure than Logan was able to fit into the book: how they de-snaked the hen house, how Logan learned to drive the wagon hitched to a horse, how they learned to cook on the wood stove, how they learned to can a year’s worth of food and store it in the cellar. It must have been an amazing experience for them.
“For two days now, the wind has howled through our little corner of the Valley like a ghost train, snapping maple branches, rattling the tin roof, spooking the animals, whistling through gaps in the house. It hectors us, tugging hair and crowding the mind with sound. I’m in the kitchen when I hear a crash from the wasroom. I rush in to find shards of glass strewn across the floor. The wind has ripped the windwo out of its frame.”
Instead of the 1900 Project I had my “Millennium Project,” in which I was going to put one career behind me at the dawn of the new millennium, move to the country, and begin my life as a writer. It’s been challenging for me—and I didn’t give up my car, or running water or . . . anything, really.
I highly recommend this wonderful account of an unforgettable year.