Looking for Nirvana

IMG_2156A mistake I thought as we pulled up in our U-Haul truck to our recently purchased farmhouse in rural Oregon.  That was on a cold, dismal rainy day in 1993. The place was overgrown and sad looking.  When we entered, the previous owners had not cleaned.  The house smelled of their chain-smoking.  There was no choice but to get to work.

We froze for the first two winters. Eventually, we got the place cleaned up, insulated and a new heating system installed. Only then could we start thinking about cosmetic kitchen4improvements.  Our son started first grade at the small school across the road.

My husband had been in a depression and said he would be happy if he could live in the country.  As for me, I had lost track of how many moves I’d experienced since leaving home at 19.  After university, I was like a tumbleweed in search of Nirvana, working seasonally in far-flung places of Alaska for the better part of 10 years.  Now, with a young son in tow, I was ready to put down roots, even if the house and the town weren’t perfect.

My now ex-husband moved on after a few years.  He was wrong. Living in the country did not make him happy.  Happiness is an inside job.  I realized that though and I married myself to this place determined to build a life for myself and my son.

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Bandit

That was 26 years ago this May 31st.  The house is now cute, cozy, with a big garden & lots of roses. The generic rural area has now become “The Wine Country.” I am interwoven into the fabric of the community and have great friends.  I know the names of the UPS guy, the mail lady, the receptionist at the pool, many business owners, and the birds that frequent the feeder.  Another, more suitable man, shares my life as well as my old dog, Bandit.  Then there are the sweet memories of the dogs and cats that have passed before him. My son grew up but lives relatively close by and thinks of this as home. In this place, my hair has grayed.  In this place, I grew to be at home in my own skin.

Dougie RIP
Dougie RIP

 

I finally found Nirvana.

'11 ski, house, summer 030

My Home

Was built on the dreams of  the Kalapuia Indians

Looking for game and camas root to feed their families

Of weary pioneers ready to cease their westbound journey

Of dairy farmers looking to build a livelihood

Of generations of families

Looking for a peaceful life

Including my ownIMG_0531

 

The forest & oak savannah

Have long been cut down

Giving way to field and orchard

And now on the hills, vineyards

The dairy cows are long gone

And more cars fill the country roads

 

But the house still stands

And I am still here,

With a better man

My child grown

The walls are infused with memories

And my dreams still blooming

Like the red roses on the arbor

Weekly Photo Challenge- Beloved, There’s No Place Like Home

'11 ski, house, summer 030
Spring 2011

This year marks the 25th anniversary of living in my home, a 100-year-old farmhouse in rural Oregon.  When I moved in May of 1993 with my then husband and 6-year old son, I thought we had made a huge mistake.  It was overgrown, musty and dirty from the previous owners who smoked. The interior was dark and depressing (it doesn’t get worse than old brown shag carpet).  We froze the first two winters.  Over the years lots of changes were made mostly by our own hands.  The place is now warm, bright, & inviting.  The now ex-husband departed years ago for a younger model and a better man has been with me for the last 18 years   My son has grown up and made a life for himself.  In the meantime, my roots have grown deep here.  This is my beloved home.

 

kitchen4

 

Farmhouse

I have no granite countertops

nor hardwood floors

an old white electric range

and portable dishwasher

do the cooking and the dishes

 

The floral wallpaper

peeling in places lines the walls

above the yellow wainscot

A shiny red woodstove

on a brick hearth

warms the large kitchen

 

The floor plan is ramshackle

added on as the needs of owners changed

during 100 years of occupation

 

More than a house

it is a vessel of memories

of people’s lives

including my own

 

Some would call it out of date

I would agree

but I like out of date

memories of simpler times

when life moved slower

the center of activity the kitchen

rather than an electric device

 

Yes, I don’t have granite countertops

nor hardwood floors

but the food here is good

and the table invites one to sit 

for a cup of tea and conversation

 

I go about my tasks with contentment

and with satisfaction

knowing that this is the place

I call home

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Bandit & Dougan

Beloved