Then Rohrer met his wife, Lauren Serafin, in Ithaca. She was just like him, the daughter of wealthy business owners, harboring similar dreams of escape. A heart exploded. They searched a Web site listing the food co-ops across America. They crossed out the co-ops in towns with expensive real estate and landed here, Potsdam, a place where they could focus on the experiences of their lives instead of their materiality, and where Rohrer could finally have his meadow, assuming he could make the people of Potsdam trust that this meadow was a legitimate and good and dutiful and logical thing and not some lazy indulgence, not a deadbeat’s excuse not to mow, not an eyesore, at least not to him, because he cared about it, cared enough to carve it out and defend it, fight for it, believe in its potential, this odd form of expression he had chosen to love — the weed smells and the insect noise, the butterflies, the berries getting ripe and fat and falling and staining the ground purple, the smell of the compost pile spoiling, the apples and peppers and banana peels dissolving to mulch.
Christ, can’t you see this? This lush green atmosphere dying so gorgeously all around him? And Rohrer with a laptop, sitting cross-legged in the dirt, inventing a new way of showing the world what it means to be alive?