Sunday, March 27, 2016

Safe Haven

    I avoid writing about being alone. I think about it quite a bit, but steer clear of putting the words in print. Don't get me wrong, I am rarely ever lonely. Once in a while, for maybe an evening I will regret not having someone in the house with me, in my bed, there for breakfast. But the feeling is fleeting.
    When I think of being alone, it is in a pragmatic way. The thought that I might be alone the rest of my days, while a tad unnerving, isn't depressing. Instead it is more about planning for my future and how I will manage when I am older. I think that is a driving force behind people wanting to be in relationships as they get older; they do not want to grow old alone. Many people are afraid of being alone. I watch my mother, who is 75 and single for almost half her life, go about her independent life, and I sometimes wish she had a partner to help her at least with the heavy lifting. But she is happy, and loves her life. So who am I to wish otherwise for her? I watch her and see myself in 20 years: independent, happy, strong, assured. Then I look at the ten years after that and know that at some point she will come to live with me.
    Where does this train of thought lead? That I need to be working towards turning my little corner of the world into something more akin to a commune. I used to joke about it, and some friends will remember the term "Women's Country." I have espoused the notion of a piece of land, large enough to support multiple small cabins, with one large community building, a community garden, shared responsibilities among a small, tight knit group of friends (most likely single women). This has been a fantasy of mine for most of my life. It has evolved from an idea of an artist commune to something more practical. Now, I look at my little piece of land and know just how much more I could do with it.
    The building of The Fort was the first step. My 200 square foot studio space that I created from a shabby storage shed. It lit a fire under me to build a second space, a cabin or guest house. I loathe to say the over-used term "Tiny House" but that is what it would be. I have loved small, single room spaces for my entire life. Three decades ago I clipped an article from Country Living magazine that had a photo spread on several turn of the century single room cabins. Glorious little homes, with wood stoves, porches, ship-lap siding, and the architectural stylings of an 1890's farmhouse. I craved one with every fiber of my being. But the idea of raising a family in something so small dimmed the fire for the time being. I never stopped looking at small structures. From A-frame ski retreats to tiny log cabins to Victorian wash houses and maid's quarters, they are all fascinating to me.
    Okay, I am rambling. Back to the gist of today's pondering. Now, having scaled my idea of a commune back a notch or two, with the knowledge that I will not likely ever own a large tract of land, I look at my own property. True, it is just under half an acre. But a hell of a lot can be done on half an acre. The spot I have chosen for the new micro house is by the apple trees. It is a clear, level stretch of ground that is not really in use for anything but shady lawn and a place to hang my hammock in the summer. It is the same area I will build my brick bread and pizza oven this summer. A guest house, or my own retreat. I have thought it could be my own home while I let someone else rent my house, or a place for a kindred spirit to share a Fried Green Tomatoes friendship.
     With a bit more living space, a bit less clutter, and a lot more specific use of land for planting, I am slowly progressing towards my own commune. Start small and build. Add more grape vines, fruit trees, berries, a small wind turbine, a greenhouse, and potting shed.
    I may remain single the rest of my days, if I so choose. But I will make my home my safe haven.

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