Sunday, March 14, 2010

House Hunting Part Three

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.


  1. Good luck, sweet, strong niece. I hope you will be very happy there.

  2. I don't think you can ever eliminate that innate wanderlust. It's in your blood. But perhaps you can anchor to a single place. You can still wander, still go off into the big blue yonder, off to some distant mountain that calls you -- and still come back to your sweet cozy cabin.

    I always thought that what I wanted was stability. But now that I've had it for 10 years (almost to the day!) I know that I will always feel somewhat stifled by it. I find myself longing for the day when the kids are out of the nest and I can fly free again.

    So love your new cabin, and don't try to change who you are. This cabin is perfect for you. And maybe you won't want to MOVE, but that doesn't mean you won't want to LEAVE, at least temporarily!


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