As I write this it has been nearly six months that I have been displaced from my home, a refugee of sorts, unable to live peaceably in the forest that I love and unwilling to face the chaos of episodic evacuations each time a new rain cloud appeared overhead. My months in the wilds of Winnetka have been challenging in ways I never would have or could have anticipated. Too soon the novelty of pizza delivery, true broadband Internet and convenient shopping venues paled, leaving behind the reality of the street noise, sirens, domestic arguments, low-flying aircraft, artificial lights and loud parties that run way past midnight. The simple truth is that I am no longer a city girl. My soul cries out for the wilderness, for the quiet of my mountains and the quirky foothill communities that are my true home. I miss them more than words can say, and this weekend I realized how much I look forward to going home once again.
This past weekend was spent at the cabin, fixing and cleaning and planning my homecoming. It was hard work, and so much remains to be done, but the work is well spent. Already I feel a centeredness returning that I have missed during these months of exile. It isn’t quite enough to let me get to sleep as early as I’d like, but last night I slept better than I have in untold nights. So, I still need more hours of sleep, but at least the ones I got this weekend were restful.
These past months have been a time of soul searching, of questioning, of asking myself what it is that I value, and what I truly want in my life. In this time I have been unbelievably blessed. Friends have taken me and my dogs into their homes, my landlord has been generous and kind beyond anything I could have hoped for, and strangers have been supportive and encouraging, helping me to keep moving forward even through the depths of despair that have risen and threatened to overwhelm me at times.
Since my evacuation last October I considered selling my cabin, the house that my grandmother bought over 30 years ago, more times than I can count. I even had a financial planner tell me I had no choice but to sell if I want to avoid bankruptcy. But as I write this today, I don’t care. My cabin is my home, my geographic and spiritual center place, and I am not ready to give it up. Once I I return home I will be in a better place, physically, emotionally and financially. I will no longer have to cringe at the smell of chlorine in my water. I will be able to truly rest and unwind after long days at work. And my means will exceed my needs so I can repay those friends who have been there for me these past few years. Call me crazy, but that weight, the burden of debts monetary and emotional, has weighed heavily on me as much as the stresses of city life. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and if it is an oncoming train, at least I’ll die happy.
Moving day will arrive in a few weeks, then the real work of reconnecting with friends and neighbors will begin. I’m already making a list of supplies I need – bird seed, hummingbird food, and a decent gas grill for all the BBQs I plan on hosting. Stay tuned – all too soon you may have an invitation in your e-mail!