After 24 years as a resident of 81328, I am mixing things up, heading west, and will be a new member of the 81321 community.
Holy shit, right?
It was just finalized yesterday afternoon and still hasn’t sunken in. I was going to savor it, roll it over in my mind, get used to the idea, before making it public. But, as we all know, there are no secrets in a town this size and word has gotten out already; the rumor mill has begun and therefore I am making an official announcement.
Questions abound, such as: Why would you leave your cabin that you love so much? Why wouldn’t you stay here, where you raised your boys? What about your friends here? Why 81321???
I would never, ever leave this cabin if I didn’t have to. It has been such a sanctuary for me. I would not have survived the past three years without these 800 square feet to call my home. The beauty, views, access to the lake, birds, bears, lovely neighbors, peace and quiet; it has all helped me to heal from tragedy and pain.
But, my wonderful landlords actually want their home back. They would like to live in this perfect place. I always knew this day would come, although I had hoped instead that they would call one day and say, “You’ve paid enough rent, the cabin is yours.”
That did not happen.
They gave me notice months in advance so no rush. After my initial distress, I started thinking about the requirements for my new home starting with “where.” Every time I left the house and drove somewhere, I thought, “I could live here, or maybe here, ooh, definitely not there.”
And weirdly enough, it didn’t even cross my mind to look in my home town, even after all of these years.
I had become rather myopic about the 1300 people and .6 square miles of my town, but since moving to this cabin, located between towns, I have expanded my world to the rest of the County.
For those of you who know here you understand the significance of County. For those of you who don’t, this is the rural west, what county you live in is more significant than the town. Ours has a very strong identity, vastly different from the surrounding areas. Ours has a distinct persona, one that I am proud to be a part of, yet because of said myopathy, I lost connection to. 81328 is fabulous, but only a piece of this place that I call home.
And 81328 is changing. Changing in ways that I don’t love. I’ve caught myself, many a time, mumbling under my breath, “fucking newcomers.” I have felt crowded and curmudgeonly.
Dating TAM has drawn me out of that tiny world. I have spent vast amounts of time reacquainting myself with people and places that have been out of my range. It has been lovely.
I have had a renewed love affair with the community at large.
So when I learned that I would have to move, I began a list of what I would need in a new home to make it okay to leave this one.
quiet. private. views. birds. space. closer to TAM. excellent landlords (because mine are the very best.) liveable inside space – although I can be quite creative so inside wasn’t quite as important as outside. space for Elvis without being so close to anyone that I would have to worry about him taking a leg off a passerby. solitude and beauty.
most importantly, a place to sit outside and drink my coffee naked if I want to.
One morning a place popped up on FB, I called, I went there immediately (the Jersey Girl pushed her way right up to the front of the line) and I fell in love.
Primarily because of the one requirement that wasn’t on the list (because I never thought it could be)…
It’s in the Desert.
Yes, my dear readers, I am moving to the desert. Red rock, sand, cactus, cliffrose, scorpions, lizards, heat. My heart’s desire.
It’s about fucking time.
This new home meets all of my other desires except it’s farther away from TAM, not closer. But he is lovely and supportive and we will make the extra driving work. It’s only 15 minutes more.
My view to the south is a giant sacred mountain. To the north, it’s open pasture all the way to the border of our local National Monument – a canyon landscape that I will be able to wander at will, filling my soul with magic and beauty. Between my home and the slickrock is a creek that feeds into the river which holds me heart.
And, it’s here. It’s not leaving the state. I’m still going to shop at the same grocery store. I’m still close to my children and my dearest friends. I will come back to 81328 to work, but then I will return to a refuge in the canyons. A place that feels a million miles away.
I’m dropping almost 2000 feet in elevation.
No more digging my way out of multiple feet of snow.
I realize, remember really, that I am a wanderer. Nomadic. Before coming here, I had never lived in one place for more than two years. I get it from my mom; she too is an adventurer. I stayed in one place for so long because I raised my children here.
And because I love it.
But the kids are out and doing great. And I do most of my work from home. And I have no choice but to move.
With this sudden freedom, my hunger to explore new places, creating a home in an as yet unlived-in community, can be fed. I hate moving, but I love to “move in.”
I like to mix it up and I haven’t for so very long.
I feel a certain sense of freedom. I am spreading my wings. I am expanding. Leaving my safe little world. While a bit nerve-wracking, it feels like growth, power, self-love.
It feels like the very right, next thing in my life.
I have made this decision based solely on what I want. I’m not moving to a ranch because of a man. I am not moving to a shitty ski town because of a man. I am not giving up my desert dreams because of another young man and his bad choices.
I am doing this because it will feed my soul.
So goodbye 81328 – you have been so good to me. I have felt safe here. I feel loved. I have friendships that I will continue to nurture and value. I will remain a part of this community, but with some distance.