Thursday, November 15, 2007
Yesterday, for the first time in a long while, I walked out onto the other end of my property. Granted, almost every day I walk alongside one edge of our property’s border with the boys and the dogs, and I love our walk and daily feel so blessed to live in these mountains surrounded by trees and millions of brilliant little plants and under an impossibly blue (and still very dry) sky. But out of habit and function, we have fallen into a routine in which we take the same walk every day, so it was nice to break out of that and walk the overgrown path out to the sturdy wooden platforms that were built on this land before we ever got here.
And I fell in love, as I do every time I wander anywhere on this patch of earth I so gratefully call home. The leaves crunched crisply under our feet and our pack of dogs gleefully ran roughshod around our legs. The kids climbed on our mysterious hippie sound dome, another structure built prior to our arrival that we adopted with the property. I keenly noticed which pieces of fallen wood will burn well to heat the house and which pieces were better suited to compost back into the ground nourishing the soil and providing housing for mice and bugs. It is so beautiful here, and there is so much life, so much going on around us every minute; it is miraculous.
I cannot explain really what it is like to be in love with land like this. As much as I don’t want to think ownership has anything to do with it, I know my relationship to this place is very different than it has been to any other place I’ve ever lived or visited, but I think it is less because I feel it belongs to me, and more because I feel like I belong to it, or that we are here for each other, locked into an agreement that these hills and trees will provide me with shelter and beauty and food and heat and space, and I will, in turn, do everything in my power to protect at least this little parcel from being plowed under, bulldozed over, excavated and turned into one more homogenized, flattened, suburban sprawl style housing development. I talk to the land and to the trees. I pray for them to pull energy up through their roots to send out to me that I may have what it takes to protect them. I offer to be their voice. I vision what I might see for the land and me to create together and play that vision over in my head as I walk along to feel if I am met with approval or resistance. The land feels it might enjoy having some alpaca live here. It would rather not become ground for cattle or too many more houses. That works for me, too.
As we trekked back toward the house I noticed another entity that makes this place feel especially magical and enduring and inviting: the rocks, the outcroppings and boulders and huge stones that are all around us as if we now reside on grounds that were formerly used for some sort of giants’ pebble tossing festival. I will never ever forget the first time we drove here, utterly enchanted and enthralled to think we could perhaps live in such a wonderland. The route to our home from town is filled with dramatic rock faces and waterfalls, and our land is home to many impressive, massive stones that jut defiantly from the ground. They have so much personality in their different sizes and shapes and colors and feelings.
One rock, in particular, will always have my heart. This one sits just a little way off the path we walked yesterday, back amongst the trees, and I noticed it very fondly. It faces out into our yard to the east, where you could catch a dazzling sunrise through the forest if you were to sit there near dawn. It is large enough that two or three beloved friends could sit together comfortably, their feet dangling off the edge just above the ground. During one of our earliest visits, as we returned here numerous times to be sure this indeed was the place we would call home, my then eight year old G romped excitedly through the woods. This place was like something out of my children’s dreams, and they were excitedly exploring every facet of the land. He called to me from the woods and I looked up to see him perched on that particular rock, and he said, “Mom, look! A spiritual rock!” but in his childlike dialect it came out more like “speerichool rock.” I am sure I will always think of that rock as the spiritual rock, and it will always give me a shiver of pleasure to remember his little voice calling out those words and to be reminded of how exceptionally blessed we are to live in such a place that calls a little boy to so easily name the sacred.
(The rock in the picture above is not on our property, but rather is a distance view of the locally famous Chimney Rock which our property overlooks from a greater distance.)