Psychic Ties and Parallel Worlds (1)

The previous owners of our new old trailer home went back to Canada ten days ago. Since then I’ve felt my psychic responsibility for both dwellings. I agonize over my decisions for the trailer, line up fence contractors, research air conditioners online with Consumer Reports. I cry watering the bougainvillea here, ache when I hear the house sparrows chittering. I sit in our courtyard garden and savor sight and sound. I have dreams of future lushness in our new home, but for the beginning our life outdoors there will be stark in comparison, no trees, no hedge alive with birds. I’ll miss our big fan palm and our valiant pine tree. I’ll miss color and texture, bark and stone and hibiscus. I so hope the new tenant will take care of the lives we leave behind us here.

I lay in bed this morning while fierce winds had their way with our world and worried the teetering fence with the rotted post at the trailer may end up across the road, prayed if it fell it would fall inward instead. When I saw the fence between my landlord’s yard and ours had given way, my first thoughts were go now, move now, don’t wait. My next thought was how odd that this fence would fall over when I was worried about the one at the trailer. Was this some weird kind of mirroring, some parallel universe thing?

Birdbath props up the fence

When I walked over to check on the trailer, the fence there was listing but not down. I stacked more bricks against one side, wedged the bird bath against the other. Now it’s late at night, the wind still noisy behind our closed doors, but I don’t feel anxious. And there is another sweetness that came to me today. This afternoon, when I went to lock the trailer door, I turned back, compelled by a wash of feeling. “I’m looking forward to coming to live here,” I said to the empty rooms. I think it was the first time I felt it in my bones. I had a lopsided grin on my face when I turned to leave. There is life outside here, too. I passed the orange nasturtiums beside the propped up fence on my way out. I was still grinning when I headed home.

Dreaming Home (46)

I’ve longed for ages for a home where I felt like I could spend the rest of my life. When I moved to Sonoma County, it was the first time I had that feeling about a place. I remember driving home from Santa Rosa on Guerneville Road past green farms, the oak-studded hills before me. Look where I live, I thought. When I moved into La Casa Azul in Todos Santos, it was the first time I had that feeling about an actual dwelling. Things went terribly awry with my landlord there, but I remember that giddy feeling, thinking I’d found the home of my dreams. I remember wondering if I’d be able to negotiate the wrought iron spiral staircase when I grew old.

Over the years I’ve built a habit of studying the yards, examining the homes whenever I walk down the street. “Oh, I could live there,” I’d say to myself, caught by the wrap around porch or the climbing wisteria, both pleasure and longing evoked by my ritual, a bittersweet practice. When I lived in Ajijic where buying a home might have been one day more within my reach, I photographed for sale signs. I remember one advertising an empty lot of neatly turned earth, a beautiful brick wall surrounding it, a blue metal gate. I went as far as to look at two homes for sale up in the hills. One was all white and one was green, and they were both two stories tall with miradores that made them seem like three-story homes. I don’t remember any details about the houses themselves, only those marvelous rooftop patios, the views of the village spread out below them, the lake in the distance. I would have lived on those roofs.

for sale sign, white veranda, yellow blossoms

for sale sign, metal gate

for sale sign, bougainvillea and rock wall

Now in my unexpected southern California life, thanks to two dear friends and the workings of a generous universe, I’m on the threshold of having my longing met in the old trailer home I’ve just bought. I don’t get to take possession of it, so to speak, until April, but it has possessed me from day one. It has grabbed me by my viscera, invoking big dreams of a magic home I can grow old in, tending my garden and writing my books, the stark place transformed little by little in the intervening years to lushness and color, where my birds will want to linger chatting together in the bougainvillea or the palos verdes. I can see myself sipping tea on my patio there years from now, watching the sun disappear behind my mountains, the sparrows and the mourning doves scritching among the leftover seeds in the late afternoon quiet. I don’t have words to say how grateful I am, how full this makes me, how much awe it awakens. But I seem determined to try anyway, to fall short but maybe brush the feathers of the thing in my attempt. Thank you, universe. Thank you, dwelling gods. Thank you, especially, my good friends. Thank you.