Before It All


| 10/30/2009 11:06:13 AM


Jenna Jazz

When I graduated from Kutztown in 2005, my first post-college job was in Knoxville, Tenn. I moved there by myself to work for a television network's website. I rented the bottom floor of an old boarding house in a historic district called Fourth & Gill. This was my old bedroom in said apartment. I laughed when I came across this photo because I'm pretty sure that old place could fit two of my present cabins inside it. Maybe three. It feels like ages ago. A past life.

This picture was taken the day I brought Jazz home, which was in July of that same summer. I was alone two weeks in the world before I adopted him. They were an awful two weeks. Women of a certain disposition should not be alone in a new city without a good dog. They feel awkward and pointless without a leash in their hands in public — but give them a large, kind dog and they are sirens. They can get by without a good man just fine, but never without a good dog.

I am of that disposition.

I look at this picture and can't help but smile, tilt my head, and raise an eyebrow. Back then all I wanted was to be a designer. I wanted a board position in my AIGA chapter. I wanted to be out in Market Square with my dog. Jazz, by the way, was never intended to be on snow. He was a southern city pet. Sure, he might pack in the Cumberlands with me, but he wasn't going to be a sled dog ...



Little did I know 18 months later I'd be in a farmhouse in Northern Idaho with him, another Siberian, and a sled parked in the garage. That all happened because of a cove in the Smoky Mountains, a night with fireflies at an abandoned camp, and a jump from a waterfall where a young man died the following day. Those are all separate and complicated stories, but they are why I'm writing you from a small cabin in a New England hollow. They are the alchemy that created the hope you know as Cold Antler Farm. (Which, if you're new to this blog, hasn't actually happened yet. Welcome to the ride.)





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