I've written quite a bit about the quandary my wife and I have -- or will have one day -- about leaving our house on ten non-easy-care acres in rural south Salem, Oregon.
(See here, here, here, here, and here.)
Age wise, we're in our late sixties. Which also happens to be the decade we were in college, the '60s. So, yeah, we're flower child, ex-hippie baby boomers.
We're somewhat worried about eventually being socially isolated out here in the semi-boonies, about six miles from the Salem city limits.
What if one or both of us can't drive? What if one or both of us can't handle the stairs in our multi-level house, or isn't able to walk on the dirt paths and sidewalkless streets in our neighborhood?
Well, I remember a Rumi poem that says something like, "My friend, one cannot build a dwelling out of if." Meaning (if it is possible to attribute a definite meaning to Rumi), reality is something different from what might be.
Right now we love our property. Certainly we'd like to be closer to more human friends. But moving into town, or into a retirement community, doesn't draw us at the moment.
One reason is the friends nature provides for us. Laurel and I are far from being animists. Still, the trees, flowers, water, and other manifestations of Mother Nature we meet up with every day on our walks mean a lot to us.
Recently some Oregon sun came out after a spring rain. I took some iPhone photos on a morning walk with our dog, ZuZu.
Down by the creek, a trail we've worn through the woods beckons both the canine and her companion.
There's some massive cottonwoods along the creek. During the 26 years we've lived here, they've become more massive'y. But so slowly, they seem to be unchanging.
I grew up near Sequoia National Park, where there are really large trees. But if I get close enough to the cottonwoods, I can feel a sort of Giant Sequoia vibe.
Nearby, there's a tree I call "Tusker." It's got a long bare limb that sticks out near head height. So far, Tusker has been kind to me. I'm pretty sure the tree is friendly. The tusk must just be for show, maybe to impress the ladies.
The trail that leads to the community lake is on an easement through our property, so it's more heavily traveled. Mostly by us. We rarely encounter other people. Nature, though, always says "Hello" wordlessly.
Along the lake trail, I always enjoy meeting up with this charming mossy stump. It makes me feel better about growing older and mossier myself.
On the way to the dog Stick Play Area, where ZuZu likes to play "Throw the stick, then I'll pick it up and run away from you, instead of bringing it to you," we walk through a field of something with purple flowers. (I'm vague about vegetation names.) A brown dog butt shows ZuZu leading the way.
Looking up on a sunny spring day, I like how the new bright deciduous leaves play nice with the older more reserved evergreens.
Returning back to our house from the dog walk, our human-made pond area has its own natural charm. Laurel, my wife, has done a great job with plantings here. A bubbler and waterfall add motion and sound to the scenery.
This is my little Taoist/Zen area by our driveway. The Oregon Grape are flowering yellowishly right now. The twin fir trees were just babies, by comparison, when we moved in back in 1990.
I hope we'll remain in our home long enough to see the firs grow much larger. Regardless, they're part of the friends we've made with nature who won't be forgotten.
Especially since I now have this blog post to muse over if, Tao forbid, I'm ever sitting in a rocking chair at a retirement home.
If you ever leave your property you will spend the rest of your life in regret.
Even if you have just one singe day to live; that day will be spent pining for home....
Posted by: Harry Vanderpool | April 06, 2016 at 09:14 AM
You might want to be on the lookout for morel mushrooms under those cottonwoods this time of year.
Posted by: Jim Scheppke | April 06, 2016 at 11:41 AM
We face that issue with the farm here. It's so far from town and we have gradually lost touch with the people out here when we discontinued our church attendance. With no kids in school, we don't have a lot of contact with anybody that isn't connected to agriculture. The work will eventually be too much but after over 37 years here, it'll be hard to let it go. Aging though does require changes.
Posted by: Rain Trueax | April 07, 2016 at 10:34 AM