December 1, 2021: Here’s Some Dirt, Grow a Forest
I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have. Abraham Lincoln
All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward. Ellen Glasglow
Either push your limits or suffocate in your comfort zone. Arun Purang
We never really start with nothing and we really never end with nothing. Hoo-nōs
In the September post, I wrote, among other things, about putting my property of forty plus years up for sale. It has sold. As I also retired eighteen months ago, a lot change has been and is in the air.
When we bought the property, I was in my own business, started a bit more than three years earlier, but doing well. I was married with two children, the youngest just three-months old. There was no water, no electricity, no sewer or septic on the property. There was a telephone pole in the middle of the driveway. It was largely dirt covered with mustard weed, dotted with California buckwheat, and accented by amazing rock formations. It was nearly three acres in a largely undeveloped area of rolling hills. It was an unusual property that immediately captured my imagination. There was a lot to do, but it was full of promise for both the short and long-term. There was space, privacy, room to breathe, and the opportunity to grow. I could not imagine all of us and it not coming to fruition.
It took nearly two years before the house was cleared to live in—and nearly all of those two years were fraught with one real concern after the other. And for good measure, a new child, the last of three, was two-days old when we were cleared to move in. Now there was even more to do. But fruition was still afoot.
Now, after forty plus years and two wives and raising children and two careers (including an eight-year overlap where I did both at the same time), and two retirements, and after talking with my children, with the woman-friend/love, and after sitting with the property, the home, the many rock beings, the now more than two hundred, mature trees, the many other rooted beings, all nurtured for decades, the many wild winged and four-legged beings who had also found a home, and after consulting with me, I saw the need to change, to move off my semi-comfort zone and into whatever would come. So, I put the place up for sale.
The place went into escrow within the first week. Glitches became the norm again. What was to be a hectic quick close turned into a hectic but finally successful close some two months later. I got the best price possible in a seller’s market and the buyer got the promise he wanted in raising a family and having space. But what I originally imagined about the development of the area did not come to pass during my tenure there, even if the vision of this individual property did. That development will happen in the buyer’s lifetime, but not in mine.
Stewardship matters to me. Some stewardships are transitory, some rooted for a lifetime and perhaps beyond. Relationships matter to me, who I am, what I do, where I live all matter to me. So does finding the place where I’ll leave.
I did well and I made mistakes. I was wrong about the area developing into a value it did not, right about living there, correct to move on. I was wrong about being with the woman for the rest of my life. I was right about taking a chance to marry, right in getting divorced. I was right about getting married again and I was right about getting divorced again. I was right about having children and taking on a stepchild, wrong in many ways while raising them, even if I also was correct in many ways, I was right about beginning a landscape career, wrong in many decisions within that career. I was right in ending that career and starting another. I was right in becoming a community college professor and correct about retiring from that position. I made many mistakes during that run and I did many things correctly. Many mistakes, many successes.
All I did, right or wrong, does not grant me entrance into anything, it is not a monument to me or against me. It is simply what I decided to do. But one thing feels very certain: I learned much from my parents, siblings, children, marriages, loves, students, colleagues, careers, place, trees, rocks, creatures, earth—all of it. I likely contributed something as well, but what I learned from them all is the classic gift that keeps on giving.
For now, I am again on the bounce, slightly trepidatious, but full of wonder. I do not have a job, I do not have a place of my own, I do not have the means to buy what I think I need—short of borrowing big time. I am not married, I do have three adult children, one grandchild, and one adult stepson who also has children. We all still talk and together, whatever we can. I do have an income, I do have a place to stay, albeit temporarily. I have much, even while having less.
I do not know what will happen, except for my eventual death. In that particular regard, I look forward to finding the place where I will leave. Until then, many other possibilities and a number of probabilities can still can be born. I bought dirt—a piece of earth—and made a home and grew a small forest, both literally and metaphorically. I carved out the only two careers I could have had up to now (and the only two I’m likely to have). I am playing with whatever light I have, knowing that movement can be backwards, knowing I’ve deliberately moved off my comfort zone, recognizing I did not start with nothing and I will not end with nothing. With more to come, I look forward. With all that’s past, I am grateful. With what presently is, I’m feeling here.
The Bumper Sticker Corner: Six stickers under the heading of Living with Ownership
What you own, likely owns you.
What you let go of, is likely gone.
What you’ve been told, you likely hold.
What you release, will not likely leave in peace.
What the body knows, the face shows.