Our first winter here: It’s early morning. Snow is falling and the neighbor is texting to say she hopes the trailer doesn’t cave in.
I go out into the white with my pajamas still on under my coat, boots and gloves. With a huge groan, I wrestle the ladder around to the back of our makeshift shed that is topped only with tarps that are sagging under the load. I don’t want a cave in.
I climb up the ladder with a shovel and start to scoop and push snow off the side. At least the plastic is slippery and I can move some of the snow to the edge and off. One shovel at a time. I figure each push is a little less weight on the “roof”. The snow is heavy and the shovel is cumbersome to manipulate from the top of the ladder.
I’m bummed. The snow is oppressive to me right now. Not fun – like it used to be.
I feel resentful that I agreed to sell our home in the burbs to come out here and experience this. I did agree to it though. Maybe a reward is in our future, I think to myself. I often burst out in tears at this point, wanting to live somewhere else.
Deep down, I know this will pass – that there is meaning in everything. I know I’m learning and experiencing things in life that will be worth telling a story about someday – but this sucks. I’m breathing hard and I’m cold and miserable. I’m angry. I’m depressed. Once again, for the hundredth time, I feel resentment that I’m even here.
When I write, I usually don’t mention the emotional upheaval that truthfully underlies our story. We’ve argued and cried (mostly me) time and time again about our circumstances. I want to blame but I know I have no one to hold accountable but myself. I understand we decided as a family to come out here but this is really, really really hard.
But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
A hundred, not even a hundred years ago this is how people lived but they were used to it. We went in with a certain amount of naivety. I actually hate the term newbie but it fits. Live and learn.
Soon after this, me and my son went to live at an emergency shelter in town for three months while my husband stayed on the property with the cat. I didn’t even care about admitting defeat at that point. I was glad to be able to get away from the cold.
Although I grew up in Utah where the climate is very similar to that here, I’ve lived most of my adult life out of the snow belt. Western Washington, the Puget Sound region is where I’ve spent a majority of that time. It’s the rain belt; a place of moderate temperatures year round and lots of rain.
I used to pray for snow every winter because I missed my childhood days of sledding and snowball fights. After we moved from Utah, snow became the little bit of cake mix left in the bowl you got to lick. There was never enough and you were always left wanting more.
Now I’ve had a bowl-full and some. I’m satisfied. It’s not so fun anymore. As a matter of fact, it’ll soon be the only thing I get to eat every day.
When it snows for the first time each year, the first fifteen minutes of play time is soon over and you have 172,800 more minutes to try to get it out of your boots, car, half-mile of driveway, off of the top of your trailer (before it caves in), off the top of your shed, off your solar panels, and out of your life in general.
The reality of snow is that it slows you down, gets dirty, is heavy, is cold, is wet, and rules your life for months at a time. But snow is also transforming. It muffles sound and brings soft silence. It is fun to play in and it’s just beautiful. That’s why I missed it so much all of those adult years.
I think our biggest problem last winter is that we couldn’t get out of it and get comfortable. We had to trek back and forth up and down our half-mile long driveway to and from our truck because the four-wheel drive broke and with that, the road was completely impassible from the first deep snow on.
We made ruts with our feet as we trudged back and forth carrying groceries and hauling propane cylinders in the wagon we took the wheels off of to make into a sled. The deer and the other animals shared the trail with us. They’re not stupid.
Despite the challenges, I have no regrets about moving.
Thankfully, this winter we’re better prepared. I can now take hot baths when I get too cold and we have a fireplace to keep us toasty.
This year, I can look forward to winter days and nights tucked in safe, warm, and cozy while we watch the snow fall outside.
I probably edit every one of my posts approximately 12 times – after I post it. And that’s after I’ve already proof read it a dozen times before I post.
I find typos, redundant words, misspellings, too-long paragraphs, points that could have been made better with fewer words, things I forgot to add to the post that I add later.
I imagine someone reading one of my posts as I’m furiously editing it and updating it 10 times in 5 minutes then refreshing their page and it being a completely different topic with completely different images.
Then I question how interesting the content really is. Yellow Jackets? Is that compelling in any way? There’s no call to action or effort to change the world with my words. Just a stupid joke (which I came up with by myself, thank you), and stories about our experiences with them. Is this subject even vaguely fascinating or entertaining?
Then there’s the speck on your computer screen that looks like a period and throws you off. Caution: Don’t ever try to clean your touch screen while it’s active. The series of commands you initiate by trying to wipe that chocolate off will take you places…..
I’ve also tried to edit when I’m on the published public page. I’m trying to click on it to edit it and it’s not working. Duh.
I end up going in circles editing. Write the post, proof read it, post it while somehow overlooking the obvious, reading it on the “visit site” link to see what it looks like to everyone else and finding more mistakes. Adding one missing letter and updating it then going back to the public site and finding something else.
I’m getting dizzy.
Then there’s the stats page. Don’t get me started on that. Being new to this blogging thing, any kind of activity there is totally exciting to me. That page is a regular stop in my obsessive travel back and forth on my blog.
I’m finding writing to be immensely enjoyable and a great outlet. I even get to use some artistic abilities which just makes it that more great! I do amateur photography but I’m not bad at it so I can always photograph my own visual content or scribble it on Paint. I just got my new camera in the mail yesterday and can’t wait to get out and use it. I haven’t had a decent camera since mine got stolen a couple of years ago.
Sometimes I start to wonder if I’m spending too much time blogging but screw that. I’ve found something that maybe I can build into a career with time. I just have to learn how to monetize it. I have a clear understanding that building any kind of business out of blogging may take years but the fun will carry me through. I’ve had a business before so I’m familiar with the realities and the hard work involved. Bottom line, time spent here is valuable to me in many ways and well worth it.
My husband has seen my excitement while typing away and I read him every post I do. He is incredibly kind, patient, and supportive. I couldn’t ask for more. Besides, it keeps me happy and busy. Of course he’s happy for me. 🙂
I’m guessing my story is familiar to some of you. The obsessiveness, the jumping to see who liked something you wrote, the unending editing, the staring at the computer screen for hours but being quite content as you do so.
Got my ticket for the Merry-Go-Round. I pick the black horse.
I bet this page morphs 6 times in the next 10 minutes 🙂 6 and counting. 7.
I was outside around one this morning near a hillside filled with litter from decades ago, as an unseasonably warm breeze blew and the chirps of the last critters of the summer drifted through the air. It was a nice feeling and it brought me back to the early days and nights of a year ago when we first arrived at our new home.
It’s funny how nostalgia works. Even if times were rough, thinking back on them often leaves us feeling good. As I stood in the darkness, I thought back to those first weeks.
We were excited as hell to be new land owners and it was my husband’s first time living away from Western Washington.
On the morning we arrived, I explored every square inch of our land. It was like having huge back yard. It had two hillsides, a flat-lands, “forests”, and The Craggy Windy Highlands as I call them. I thought about how I could make a map of our place as a fictional land.
The parcel we bought was one of four that had been divided up from a larger piece of land. Ours was number three in the top left area of the “map” below. We wanted to buy the adjacent lots but someone beat us to them.
There was a farmer’s dump on the parcel next to us but we had our own portion of the junkyard on our property. The last time anyone took out the trash was over sixty years ago. Their garbage is now semi-valuable as antiques that we have sold.
Wanting to know more about the history of our new acquisition, we ordered a title search of the property from the county courthouse in town. The first owner in the line of succession bought it from Teddy Roosevelt (the government), in 1908. The last people who lived here left in the late 1950’s as near as I can tell. I wonder why?
This place has been quiet and still for over a half of a century. Now we are here to wake up the ghosts of days gone by.
It’s been a year since we first drove up our driveway pulling the trailer behind us. We’ve been through so much. Walking near the farmer’s dump this morning brought it all back to me. That feeling of excitement and wonder – the pride of ownership. The explorability factor was high then and it still is.
It was those early days of adventure and discovery that inspired me to write so I wouldn’t forget.
Besides, this is the biggest, bestest back yard I’ve ever had and I want to tell the whole world about it. 🙂