The Confluence of Chance and Destiny

Selling a place you love: is less like finding someone to adopt a pet than it is like seeking a peaceful and secure passage into another life for dependent next-of-kin. We can’t just drop this place off at the curb and drive away. So we need help spreading the word, not as much about the REAL estate as the LIVED estate in being here.

Some of you know a lot about that, because I’ve certainly poured my morning musings and my camera’s view of the world close at hand onto the page now for so many years.

We imagine that, at just the right time, just the right words will turn just the right future owners towards Goose Creek. And it may be for them like it was for us–a place they’d never been but longed to find. And having found it, they will know it is home.

I doubt this connection will happen because of Zillow. It will come to pass because good people tend to meet the needs of other people. And somebody knows somebody who needs this place; they know that somewhere in their sphere of connection, there is a synergy between a couple they have known and this place they have heard so much about or have visited over the years.

And so in hoping for all this to come about, it disappoints me to know that the only medium we have to express what we offer and to offer what a buyer is looking for is the cold, impersonal Zillow-type just-the-facts.

What sold me on the place (granted by that time we had bought the bare-bones farm) was the totality of the place–not the things listed as features but the context and aesthetic placement of house and creeks and ridges and ravens and white pines. It was the local ecology and resonance with my bones. I’m not sure what else to call it.

How do you sell all that to a person visiting for an hour, deciding “is this home for us?”

But any serious buyer of the sort we imagine fitting well here will come back soon after the first visit and walk the pasture loop; and another visit, will walk the boundaries; and a final one to just lean back against a tree in the Fortress of Solitude and be, for a few minutes, a part of the web of all-that-is on Goose Creek.

Then they will know that they have found just this place both by chance and by destiny or design or fate or by God’s plan, as they will see it come together. It will be right.

A buyer who only buys property without this wider awareness will not know these things. They will not understand that we leave a piece of ourselves in every corner of this fragment of Earth, and hope to hand this home place over to others who will do the same.

But then, we are not in a position to let poetry win over practicalities. We can dream, but we also need to move out and away, best offer wins, and life goes on.

Saddle Up, Move’m Out

Friends and Neighbors, the day has come. We are doing the next thing and moving away soon from the place we’ve known and loved for twenty years–but are NOT leaving Floyd. In fact, we’ll be about a third of the distance to The StopLight, on 27 acres, with accessible access to a much, much newer home with an incredible view. (I’ll post pix soon, and appreciate those of you who have been curious, even before we had this week’s certainty that this transition has started and will go to completion.)

So later today (on FB) I’ll post additional details, and hope our Floyd Family will help us find good neighbors as new owners of this magical place and then, come June, to settle in and re-home ourselves and grow a healthy new sense of place.

We are putting together our bug-out bags and creating a list of people and places to visit over the coming months as the house is visited by motivated and enthusiastic potential owners who want to fit in and put down roots on Goose Creek.

And so you might see us more often in Floyd Town, looking displaced and bewildered and looking for something to do. Thankfully, there is almost always something to do, coffee to be drunk, conversations to be had, visits to be made. It will be an adventure. He said.

Meanwhile, here are a couple of interior pix. You’ve seen the OUTSIDE over and over since 2003, but hardly ever shots from inside the house–unless they contained pix of Tsuga, Gandy, Dingo, Scout or Mosey. So more coming soon.

PS: Readers of Fragments via email, let me know in comments or by email that you’d like links to the photo gallery or features bullet-list.

Last Things

It is starting to sink in that this is not a drill. This is not the projection of some future possibility that one day, we would leave this place, dead or alive.

This is an acceptance, almost, that one day, this in-the-present hardscape would become a distant abstraction on the globe, an amalgamated assortment of place-and-people memories, a thousand pieces of fused colored glass–beautiful to conjure but difficult to make out any of the original bits. One day, we would not be here, would be looking out at a different viewshed, from a different HeresHome, through different eyes.

One day, we would wake up dead or be moving from this place. Those were the options. And while we often spoke of our intention to leave here in a pine box, that would not have been the responsible thing for our children. While we could have continued to herd cats and keep body and soul together here for a few more years, that would only delay the inevitable day we would leave, and years in the future, a decision to leave would offer far fewer good years to settle in and make another place our home with its own amalgam of colored-glass memories.

And so we are moving.

And it turns out, of course, that there is a lot more to it than one day waking up in the same bed in a different house. It is not like the movies where an amnesiac suddenly finds themselves transported from their last recollections in the fifties into a different movie set they do not recognize. Maybe an acute rip-the-bandaid translation into another life would be desirable, if it could somehow become possible other than in a movie script. But ours will be a creeping crisis of opportunity, unfolding for at least a year. Probably more.

Out impending reality until June will be more like a six-month metamorphosis into a late instar that emerges at The Other Place, then continues internally to reform and reconnect the inner parts for another six to twelve months before emerging in a new skin, with new eyes to appreciate that Where that is not Goose Creek.

And with this reality setting in, it is certain that many of the things we do between now and June we will be doing for the last time:

There will be a last time we sit on the front porch with friends and a bottle of wine.

There will come a last time we walk the pasture loop while calling this our own place; we may walk it years hence as visitors when it is another’s, if that is not too bittersweet a revery to contemplate.

We will hear for the last time the creek through the open bedroom window, will hear perhaps once more the whippoorwill who visits briefly in the spring, will smell for the final time the maple sweetness when the sap drips on the first warmish spring day.

I will load the list stick of firewood into the maw of the Quadrifire, the last of the thousands that have, since November 1999, been hefted a half dozen times between the forest edge and the waiting coals from last night’s fire. And since we may not have wood heat Over There, the very last loading of a lifetime may happen as the first buds swell and the days stay warm in late April. How I will miss this part of who I have been.

We will, on that last day, have taken our last senses-wide-open panorama in our minds and memories with immense gratitude, two figures in a snow-globe fantasy land left behind as we drive out of here with our past in the rear view mirror.

But I also remember that we did all those things here for a first time when Goose Creek was unfamiliar and not ours quite yet. And while not so many things for so many years after we reach The Other Place, we will know first things again.

One-Armed Paper Hanger

So even with my good intentions to breathe life back into the blog, it’s been on life support in ICU for another week, hanging on by a thread (though not of active conversation) and waiting for an injection of adrenalin. But not because there is nothing to write about on Goose Creek. Far from it. And I do not apologize for personal sloth. Oh NO!

My goal was to ship out five bits from the upcoming book for (possible but not certain) inclusion in lit-mags to establish some writing cred–and perhaps attract attention of an agent or publisher. I did it, and so now moving on to other things.

On the positive end, I am finding wonderful resources for publishers, publications and writers who might be kindred spirits and a help towards the goal of printing for “One Place Understood: Field Notes from a Personal Ecology.” I’ve changed the name back since I mocked up a cover a month ago. (It won’t be this dark and will contain more color. And if I succeed in getting it third-party published, they’ll hijack the cover and the title, so I’m not spending much time on this just now.)

One bright spot has been the discovery of the ASLE–the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. I have joined as a member, and look forward to learning as a folk-writer from these mostly-academic professionals.

ASLE is where slow thinking (scholarly and artistic research and writing) meets swift action (we cannot truly be environmental humanists unless we are willing to become environmental activists). We study, write, compose and create because we care about issues like biodiversity, environmental justice, survival in a time of endemic precarity and global catastrophe, and the effects of climate change on humans and nonhumans alike. These concerns have long histories, and we believe that we can look to the past to imagine alternative futures. We do not have easy solutions to the problems that face us, but we do have faith that widened community is our best way forward. 

Just so you know: I’ve been busier than…you know; and had a cat to help every step of the way.

Mosey loves the melted ice from last night’s bourbon and Pepsi

An Even Slower Road Home

So VDOT got a late start on this project, supposed to have begun last Monday. (And work will NOT be finished until at least July 22 or 23.)

The foreman realized how bad things really were, and instead of the single pipe with a 4 inch concrete cap, he decided this replacement needed two pipes and an 8 inch cap.

You can see they’ve dammed the creek upstream and are sending the water via a large-diameter flexible hose–like a firehose–back into the creek bed downstream of the construction.

So we’re hoping for no frog-chokers until this work is set in stone. To which, by the way, I might have a hard time not adding a short, pithy quote while the concrete is still wet after the pouring is over and the work day has ended.

So what should it be?

We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” Isaac Newton

“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi Berra

“Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled by. And ended up on Goose Creek.” Fred First