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Jack is the heart-warming story of 93-year-old Jack English, who lives on his remote homestead in the Ventana wilderness – the area which pretty much marks the realm of his childhood memories and had a great appeal ever since. When his wife Mary passed away he decided to do what he always wanted: turning his back on society and set up his permanent residence out there, in the cabin the couple build together decades ago.

“Life has its problems,
but it’s like my wife always said,
‘it’s how you contend with those problems
that will be the result,’”
he said.

“I look back and I really did have a good life.”

After the war Jack picked up work as a carpenter. He also became a bowmaker for violins and cello, mainly because of his son Dennis who was fiddle player as a boy and is still involved in blue grass and country music as well as making violins himself. Despite his hands being gnarled with gout, Jack still crafts the bows in his little wilderness workshop where he lives without electricity, only possessing an emergency generator.

“I’m just different than most people.
I’d rather go back than go ahead,”

Once a month he gets supplies, but due the lack of a refrigerator he tends to live on a fare of dried and canned food, being welcoming to occasional visitors. He has running water that he still needs to pump and do the occasionally wood chopping in order to keep fireplace and stove going, in his remote home five miles away from the next road.

Jack is living a simple life, maybe embraced by solitude, but being content with little and doing things at his hearts content. In fact this humble man seems to live in perfect satisfaction…

 “It’s the kind of life I like,
and that’s why I’m here
and that’s where I hope I’m going to be ’til the end.

Maybe with luck I can make it.”


{header image by Trey Ratcliff}

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