family homestead Nature Mysticism story

A writing desk is such an inconsequential thing, until you have to write every day. Now I have an altar to keeping my shit together to turn to. I’ve stepped away from the big officey desks and gone nostalgic: a secretary’s desk from World Market. This is one heavy little writing machine. If pounds per square inch mattered in desks I’d be set. When Vikings attack me at home, I’ll have something to fling.

Some good friends asked what I hoped to get out our move to Sisters OR for me. The first thing that popped out (like a bullet) was to feel successful as a homemaker. I hadn’t really realized it, but I’m hoping we live in a home that I can keep up with. I want it to feel beautiful and comfortable, a place for family to grow. Right now that looks quite a long way off. But I know we’ll get there. Hopefully by October. Not December. Please not December.

A place to fall asleep,
when we’re supposed to be doing
something else,
in the sun,
while the deer
chew up the lawn
I didn’t really want,
until I found out
the deers like to eat lawn.
Our new blanket,
called home.

Moving started at the beginning of summer, somehow my back survived. First we prepared Lavender Hill for sale, then traveled to visit here, then there was selling and buying and clearing houses. Tadg helped box up everything, and he did so in fine 11 year old fashion. Every single wine glass was bubble wrapped and encased in enough tape to ensure survival in the zombie apocalypse. Of course I haven’t found the good scissors yet, so a butcher knife will have to do. It takes about 2 minutes per glass as I whittle away. The house is an explosion of packing materials.

True is in heaven, the only pair of scissors (toe nail cutters) have been in her possession for days as she crafts every packing material into a new sculpture. She’s cut almost all of her dolls hair off, including the life-sized Annah (from Frozen) doll and used it as bedding in a box she will now nest in. A nest within a nest. She hopes the cats will join her.

The people who showed up to help were just the right goodbyes. Shad & Willow, Kate & Aaron, kids running everywhere. My neighbor Russ actually got the last dregs of everything dealt with. And then there was Mary, who made the drive and unpacked with us. She was there when we placed the Sister-stone in the backyard. That was when I felt, after so long, that we had finally arrived. I cried a bit, it felt so good to cry again.

Every day,
caring for you,
another stone added to the cart
I pulled for us
weighing me down,
making my heart bigger.
Today I untethered the cart
and felt the space we’d made in me,
empty cupped hands.
What can live there now?

A day later I cried in a dream about buying a farm with an old friend. I love dream-tears, they feel more honest and somehow precious in a way that waking tears aren’t. Really I was crying about Terry, missing her on this move, on a new adventure without her. I am so exhausted, if I cried that much while awake I’m sure my face would melt off.

{2 weeks later}

I think I’ve introduced myself as a single Dad and widower more in the last few days than I have since Terry died. I’m getting pretty good at it. I can feel when there’s the pause coming when I’m supposed to talk about my wife or perhaps husband. “I’m a single Dad, a widower, the kids Mom passed away in 2018.” My neighbors are friendly, interested, and thankfully do not go into shock the way some have back in the Bay area. So far nobody has pitied me or the kids, they’re just grateful to have 2 bright children to play with theirs in the neighborhood. Tadg and True are ecstatic to have neighbors they can play with all up and down the block. They’re away every chance they get. They just got back from 3 hours with a kid named Sam. Now they’re wrestling at the end of my bed.

My writing desk shipped without the requested kid-proof forcefield. Crap.

I think I’ve completed my journey into fatherhood now. That probably sounds ridiculous, fatherhood is all I do. But there is now no speck of me held back from being a Dad; no secret places to hide, no me-time deals I’ve made with life. I am now just the tallest citizen of the wonderment nation the three of us create every day. I don’t even think about how life could be different anymore.

This is not the life I’d imagined for myself, but it fits like a glove.

I have 25 minutes of yoga in the morning, I think that should be me-time. A beautiful young person looks out at me from my phone, feeding me the simplest job I’ll have today – stretch this way, breath, feel fabulous and sacred for a bit. Meanwhile a dog licks my face and cats rub against my feet. Tadg joins me with the best intentions, then falls asleep 1/2 on the mat. Truly springs in, changing each pose to suit her, elbowing me out of the way so I can’t see the screen. I love her yoga, she’s doing it right, I suck. If I were half as flexible and silly as her, I’d already be a master. Lets call it wee-time.

I didn’t think about the fact I hadn’t had my own bedroom for over a year until I closed the door here. First Tadg insisted the master bedroom with private full bathroom and walk in closet was his. Of course, he had the most stuff so he should have the most space! Then Truly took a run at it:”I’m a girl and I want it!” I was firm in the way an exhausted parent clinging to the idea of the first privacy in years can be: NO, this is mine! Of course I share my bed with at least one of three cats, a dog and the occasional child wandering in after midnight. But still its mine. Perhaps its mine in the same way the Moon belongs to the US because we planted a flag there. It doesn’t really belong to us, but it makes us feel better about ourselves.

The deer gather in the morning and evening to eat our lawn and rest. There are many fawns, fuzzy and spotted. They don’t mind us watching their beauty. They lay near Terry’s stone, I know she’d love that. I think they are our welcoming committee, letting us know we belong in the neighborhood because they do, and they’re deer. We all belong here together. I wonder how long it will take to feel like we truly belong.

I am yearning for time by the rivers here. My yoga practice has helped me to draw my energy inward, keep me centered, help me to prepare for my movement work again. I consciously let dance and shapeshifting go when the move started. I knew it would take everything I had to get here. It did – and a little more. Now I’m ready to begin giving my energy out to the world again, ready to receive in the way only giving can feed to you.

Last night I stood outside in the dark in bare feet, feeling the power of the Earth rise up through me again. This area is full of volcanic rock, underground waterways where pristine water flows year round, the same water that rises to the surface and becomes the Metolius a few miles from here. I can’t wait for those waters to wash over me, for her spirit to fill me once again. Even the tiniest movements I’m able to make feel delicious here. I am unencumbered in a new way. All of this moving helped me shed a skin I didn’t even know I had, much less had out grown.

I no longer need any companions,
any reasurances on this journey.
I know this is a gift,
like everything else.
The waters rushing beneath,
will embrace my spirit,
when it finally journeys there.
Home is just a beginning.

Blessings to you and yours during this time of great change.

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