I've arrived in Evergreen, Colorado and am beginning the journey of five weeks in my little (rented) mountain cabin. I actually arrived on Monday night, went to the grocery store to load up on supplies, and then drove up to the cabin. I didn't sleep well the first night, waking at 3 am, and resorting to my tried and true solution of turning on my favorite news channel to provide white noise to lull me. I guess this was to be expected with the time difference and the first night in an unfamiliar place. I woke yesterday to grey skies and cold temps. I brewed a pot of coffee and huddled down in a chair on the deck to watch the skies and the mountains in the distance and wonder what I would be able to accomplish in the coming five weeks. Today, the skies are clear and sunny.
I tend toward a bit of agoraphobia when left to my own devices. The physical manifestation being a scarcely perceptible cotton ball of anxiety that sits in my chest and then slowly gains weight and panic-y heft when I contemplate leaving the house, getting in the car, and driving somewhere. It's not overbearing, just ever present, just enough to aid me in making excuses for staying in. For instance, during the year that I lived at Lake Tahoe, I never once went to Truckee, a town merely 15 miles away. Instead, I spent most days holed up in my little house, making trips to the grocery store down the hill from my home and the rest of the time sitting on the deck staring at the sky. I seem to be able to handle social situations only in small doses and solitude in large, looming chunks. It is a double-edged sword, on the one hand, I treasure my solitude and am quite happy to spend hours or days alone. The problem is that left alone for too long, I spend too much time in my head. And speaking from experience, even healthy introspection has its limits and does better when bounced off the company of others from time to time.
I could see the same happening here, it's been two days and I have yet to leave my 'yard' with the exception of a walk up the dirt road behind the cabin. I suppose this could point to a career possibility of joining a cloistered convent or a monastery, though I'm not good at joining groups, so perhaps I would have to go the more singular route of becoming a hermit, or one of those monks that live in caves.
I'm working to combat this tendency by arranging things to get me out and about. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my realtor to look at houses. To give you an idea of what this entails, I've already highlighted the route on a map and contemplated the drive. (Bizarrely, I've driven cross country, and a couple years ago spent two weeks on my own, driving over two thousand miles through Wyoming and Colorado with no itinerary. It's just the getting started that is the crux.) Next weekend my brother and his wife are coming up for four days, and at the end of the month, one of my friends is coming for the weekend. These visits will compel me to leave the house and get on the road so that I can share with my guests the beauty that can be found with a drive through the mountains. And topped off by dinners in town.
On the other hand, this intermittent solitude will be the perfect opportunity to get some writing done. My goal is to spend time each day working on the revisions of my second novel. I'm about halfway through it at this point, and it would be incredibly satisfying to make a big dent in the second half. I've also got some blog ideas brewing that reflect my ongoing obsessions with politics and baking. As you can see in the picture above, I've already set up my computer at the kitchen table and my little cabin is blessed with a really fast wireless connection which makes working a breeze (if I could just discipline my compulsion of check the Drudge report fifty times a day.) And then, there's that small pile of books that I've brought along to read....
In all, I'm easing into the journey and am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to live in such beauty. I hope it will be productive, that it will help me to discover a happy medium between my desire to continue to live with my mother to provide her with companionship and care at this time in her life, and a desire to have a place and time for myself. (In another post we'll discuss the changing role of elderly parents in our lives, the old world traditions of parents living with their adult children, versus the modern tradition of assisted living communities, the pros and cons of each.). In a perfect world, I would have a little house here and have the freedom to spend time in both places. At present, there are no easy solutions, but my hope is that I will discover one that is a blessing for both of us.
As you can see there's a lot on the expectations plate for this trip, I hope I'll remember to just relax, let go, and let it happen.