I’m buying a log cabin and it makes me feel both excited and afraid. Excited because I have always wanted to own a place like this, a place that makes me want to settle in. Afraid for the same reason.
I’ve always been a traveler. After college I lived in national parks: Olympic, Carlsbad Caverns, Big Cypress and several others. I followed fire seasons. I lived out of storage units and duffels and unkempt bunkhouses. I don’t miss those things. But sometimes I wonder if I can ever really stay in one place. There is always that desire to move on, to hike different trails, to see different views.
I want to stop. I want to have a small garden. I want to have friends who won’t be at the end of a telephone line. I want to love that stays, not one stretched thin by distance and uncertainty.
How to stop moving, when that is what you have always done? I hope it’s possible. I hope these mountains are enough. I hope that what I have found here is permanence, but not the type of permanence that leaves me feeling trapped.
I tried to find this in Alaska, and something wasn’t quite right. I wanted it to be. I wanted to be one of those people unaffected by the rain, not crushed by lack of sun. I wanted to charge up the slimy, brushy mountains with enthusiasm, never missing the kind of warmth that sinks into your bones, the mind-wandering pleasure that a trail affords. I wanted to sleep deeply while bears circled my tent on their way to the salmon streams.
I couldn’t quite pull it off, though. The mountains I dreamed of were made of granite and limestone, the lakes clear and blue and bottomless, lakes you could actually swim in. I wanted snow you didn’t have to hike uphill for hours to get to. Not tough enough? Maybe. But I’m okay with that.
So here I am in this valley, buying a log cabin. I am making this leap of faith, but it’s not packing up the truck and heading south, or north, or anywhere else but here. To anyone else this might not seem like a big deal. But for me, it is. It really, really is.