Like a lot of people, I’ve celebrated the 4th of July for the fun, the food, the fireworks. Not today. This year I am reveling in what for me turns out to be a profound sense of liberation and there won’t be one flag or float in sight: Back in May, the artist-lover and I bought a house (a first for both of us) and just a little over two weeks ago (in a lull between book events), we moved up out of the steaming heat of the prairie and back to the blessedly cool mountains.
I’m back at 8600 feet where I belong.
Always cash poor, I’d never thought I’d own a place of my own, so frankly, if nothing else ever happens in my life, settling in on this acre and a half in a home Greg and I may have to call The Tree House for its view through French doors of the upper half of aspens and pines will be one of my happiest and proudest moments. Not even publishing a book tops this.
I have been candid in my memoir about my tumbleweed childhood, the way my family rolled from place to place, and my deep yearning to put down roots. I’ve always wanted to be from somewhere, always wanted a place to call my own. But too often, my place shifted with seasons and jobs and school, along with the inherent instability of renting, something I’ve been doing for thirty-five years.
Putting that all behind me is like unhooking a heavy backpack after a long hike. There’s a feeling of weightlessness, relief and a cooling down, a coming to blessed rest.
Owning a house is perhaps my biggest dream, and those people who know me know what it means for me to be back in the woods, with dirt beneath my feet and a shock of stars above at night. “YOU’RE the mountain,” my friend Jim shouted, wrapping me in his huge arms, when he saw the place.
Yes, and it’s good to be home.