These past few weeks have been rather insane for me. In the final bits of getting the house refinanced, had loggers come in and harvest the trees that we had arranged for early this past spring. I have cleaned like a fiend for the appraiser, had 2.5 times the amount of new client articles dumped on me than I had before, hours at the store, and done a great deal of moving things around for renovation. I still have not managed to get on the roof and clean the chimney, get firewood split and moved in, etc.
In spite of all the hard work, this is one of the things I treasure about living out here. It’s a magical and safe space, just as the place that any person calls home should be. Every time that I venture into the city, I am anxious to leave it as soon as possible. I know how to shield myself from the bombardment of other people’s behaviours and cluelessness about how to act in public. During the holiday season, it would seem that these sorts of bad behaviours escalate in ways that are the antithesis of what the holidays are supposed to be about. When I venture back toward home, as soon as the blacktop that is Iowa Street turns into the unpaved portion that becomes Buffalo Road, I breathe a sigh of relief. In that moment when my tires hit the gravel, when the Buffalo Creek becomes visible on the left, and the limestone cliffs and rolling forested land that belongs to the state rises up on the right, a feeling of security and safety comes over me.
The boundary is a clear one, both physically and in an unseen sense. The Spirits of the Land are tangible things. The last time I traveled that road, an enormous female bald eagle that was sitting on a tree that extends over Buffalo Creek looked at me squarely as if to ask, “Why did you even bother to leave? What is out there that you cannot get here?”
I confess, I had no good answer to give.
For 20 years I have lived here. For ten of those years, I called it by the name Iunen Sekhmet (Sekhmet’s Sanctuary). It has been that for me, for my spouse and for my son and the animals that live with us. I hope to stay here another 20 years and more and to pass it to my son. He understands the legacy of what it is to be in a place that is alive with nature and with history, and how the modern world continues to encroach on it with every passing year. I wonder, as I look at the property of neighbors who pass to the Beautiful West and their heirs parcel up and sell of bits and pieces of the land that their parents lived and died for if they understand what it is?
A few of the people around me get it. They understand what stewardship is about. They go along the roads and pick up trash that is thrown from vehicles or stop would-be dumpers with ferocity. This is our land. We look after this small bit of primeval forest with the understanding that as it gives to us, we must give back to it. We are constantly digging our way out of the every day concerns in order to get back there.
It’s safe space. It’s what we call home.