And so I begin. Six years ago on Mother’s Day in May, I left the home that I had shared with my husband of 25 years, heading west at the age of 48 toward a new life that I had never expected to have. That began a series of experiences I never expected to call glorious, but do. My world was forever altered, my perspective changed. I evolved, so to speak, and find myself ready to take stock of that in some sort of formal way. This is how I’ll start:
May 9, 2005
A herd of about 30 elk are out in the meadow this morning and two large coyotes crossed the path at dawn. The pond is filled and the creek is flowing. Scattered white clouds hint of more rain. It is far greener than in past years.
Gus is about 8 weeks old now and slept well with only one bout of crying during the night. He is demanding attention this morning and seems very timid when we are outside, though he seems to enjoy following Bud about the property, finding new smells in the woods and the grass. The house weathered the final weeks of winter with no further damage. Bugs are minimal. The upstairs is completely dismantled since the hardwood floors have been removed. Two months earlier, a neighbor checking on the place called to say that water had seeped in from the enormous pile of melting snow on the deck. All of it must be replaced. I will sleep downstairs until that is done.
The driveway was completely washed out by spring runoff. Where once was a culvert over a seasonal creek is now a gap 10 feet wide and 8 feet deep with a healthy bit of water flowing through it. I had to leave my truck on the far side of the creek last night and walk through mud to the footbridge my son built several years ago, cradling Gus in one arm and the things I needed for my first night in the other. I hope to get one of the ATVs operating today so I can use it to cross the creek and begin to ferry my things up here. I need also to prepare for the job interview I have on Tuesday.
Our journey here was long. I departed exhausted and was tired enough to need a nap at a rest stop along the way. This morning as I sit on the deck I am still tired, and the wind edges on my skin from the west and the sun shines on my skin from the east. There is a faint sound of semi-trucks far in the distance. I concentrate instead on the rushing water of the creek as it brings yet more snowmelt to the lower elevations. Deer travel quietly through the meadow, bounding like large rabbits when exposed in a clearing, edging slowly toward food when hidden.
I find myself overwhelmed with all that I must do. Paralyzed, I spend an hour drinking coffee and pondering what is to become of me. There is a part of me that is ready to let go of my past life, to forge forward without encumbrances. Another side of me whispers to not ignore the solace that would come from having company in the years ahead. But would that company be solace or pain?