Mountainous River of Mud
I'm in Vermont right now, but got a second ferment batch of kombucha going before I left.
Some of you noticed I took down my last post and emailed wondering what that was about. I think as the comments started coming in, with a complimentary tone toward myself, I felt like I’d done a disservice to the story and a poor job in writing it. Stories of life in a homeless shelter are uncomfortable, it is natural to seek the good, the silver lining. I do the same. But I was not the good in that story, and it being perceived that way told me I did not do my part in writing it well. So that’s why I took it down. You were so nice about that post, maybe too nice for my comfort, if that makes any sense.
Tomorrow I’ll meet with our realtor to look at a house Adam has already seen and liked well enough to suggest I do the same. When he described the location to me, it went something like this: You’ve got to see it, Heather. The drive there is beautiful, a continuous climb up the mountain until finally you’re looking at the full five mile width of Lake Willoughby in your rearview mirror. And, it’s quiet there. So quiet.
Here’s what I heard: Steep mountain... ice... snow... mud season... certain death. So I asked, "How intense is the road to the property?" It’s fine! No problem at all, and man it’s beautiful. You’ve got to see it.
Now would be a good time to point out that Adam and I do not share the same definition of “intense road.” Nor do we share the same definition of favorable driving conditions.
I decided to head out there yesterday, thinking I’d scope the area on my own before doing so with the realtor. As suspected, the mountain road immediately ascended as I turned onto it, with no letting up along the way. It was fine at first, I put it in low gear and climbed. Then the mud came. It’s not mud season here just yet, but a stretch of 50 degree days has created a temporary thaw in some places. And this road, with its full exposure to afternoon sun, was among those places. Basically I was driving though a small stream, uphill. I continued to keep it slow, but not too slow, slipped enough here and there to step up my heart rate a little, but not enough to feel out of control. Still, this was not a good time and I struggled to find pleasure in the moment. The road felt totally intense and I wanted my money back on that promise of it being “fine." Before I could throw a full on pity party for my white knuckling self, I noticed up ahead there was a guy with a truck twice the size of my own, ditched on the side of the road. And he did not look happy. I stopped, unsure of exactly how to help with his vehicle being so much bigger than mine, but maybe he’d have some ideas. I remembered that Adam keeps chains and tow straps stashed in my car so we’d at least have something to work with. He said he’d been there an hour already, and that he hadn’t been able to call anyone because he was so pissed that he smashed his phone on the steering wheel. (Told you he didn't look happy.) I faced the wrong direction so I headed up the road to turn around, which given the narrow scope and no actual driveways to turn around in, and my still ramped up heart rate from climbing my way through a mountainous river of mud, I was cautious and went a little further up the road, to find just the right spot to turn. A few minutes had passed by the time I got back, and three other trucks arrived in my absence. These guys knew exactly what they were doing, chains already across the road, hooked up to the pissed off broken cell phone guy’s truck. My help was hardly needed. But now I faced down the mountain, and it seemed a little too fate-tempting to think I’d turn my vehicle around once more, and continue on to the property. So I figured I’d do the logical thing and carefully head to lower ground. I kept an even slower pace than the one I’d climbed with, after all, the guy in the ditch back there was also heading downhill and things didn’t work out too well for him.
So I never did make it to the property, though I was close. I will say, Adam was totally right. The drive was beautiful, and with each hundred foot climb the sky opened more and more, revealing all of Willoughby’s splendor. The sky was so big and yes, it was incredibly quiet. I hear the stargazing is unreal up there, which is saying something for a corner of the world that’s already got a good handle on night-sky viewing.
I’m not sure if this house will be the one for us. If it is, and if you come over, my directions will probably include, turn right onto the mountainous river of mud. The home is architecturally beautiful, but like most things that are designed by and for others, it offers some impracticalities for the way we live. This is fine and we feel realistic about the process, but it still helps to remind ourselves that perfection is an illusion, be it in property or in the road to get there. Although now that I think about it, the rearview mirror sure held a view that was indeed, total perfection. Didn't even require the hands of man to make it happen. Imagine that.