Writing’s a tricky thing. Writing, especially about one’s life, becomes more challenging as Life itself becomes more challenging. I always want to report good news and fun times, and I even aspire to make you chuckle once in a while, if not LOL. But there are times I struggle with finding the humor, the message, the uplifting, and the significant in my daily grind. With amazing swiftness four weeks go by and it appears there is nothing to report but the latest Daily Disaster. We are talking failing equipment, falling fences and escaping equines, unexpected expenses, dangerous weather and yada yada. And so sometimes I feel “if you can’t say something nice, it is better to say nothing at all”.
But that’s not the real reason I didn’t write last month. It’s because I didn’t really want to tell you the news. Which is: I am leaving.
Yep, the Mountain Mouth is going to move to town. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but you can bet your sweet corn it will be before next winter. I am feeling very good about this decision which will put me within reasonable distance from my job. And since cheese (that ever reliable economic indicator) has not been free in a while, I figure I better keep my job. Please don’t think I wimped out after only nine years off the grid. It’s not the effort required to make power. It’s not the lack of phone service – no cell, no land line. It’s not getting up in the dark and wiping a foot of snow off the car and getting down in the mud messing with tire chains. It’s not even the road, which has deteriorated to the point of absurdity.
It’s none of these things. It’s just time to move on!
Things I am going to miss: the solitude, the silence. The incredible views. The chickens running to greet me, the horses lifting their heads and nickering when I come into view. Riding down the mountain road on my mustang. Letting the dogs have their run of wherever. The flawless night skies; the full moons rising over the mountain. Jumping into the pond at the end of a hot summer day. Red Lodge filled with friends, laughing, eating, loving life. The color of my walls. My gardens. The smell of summer rain. The way the mountain critters and I have a perfect truce.
“It’s a magical place”, Rockford Jim said as he left a couple of weeks ago. He’s right. People are drawn here and there are few things I love more than making them feel at home. People who come here want to come back. We’ll all remember this place. Overrun with dogs cats chickens and horses, clean, messy, growing, beautiful.
It’s not easy to let go.
I have lived in many amazing places. I have lived at Muir Beach with gardens stretching to the Pacific, on a high hill in San Francisco, in a classic greystone building one block from Central Park in New York City. In a little hut on the beach on the Carribean Sea. In a quaint farmhouse in Ashland, Oregon and in an old schoolhouse in upstate New York. On a big old wooden boat in LA. In a strange, beautiful old house with lush gardens across from a river: where I grew up in Illinois. Of all these, and more, once I was someplace new I have never wished to go back. Fish don’t swim backward. Neither should humans. I soothe my soul with this mantra.
But letting go of a house, even one this amazing, is not really hard. It’s letting go of the lifestyle. Which, for me, has been one of such freedom. If you want to have a rock band in your yard, if you want to laugh loud into the night, if you want to run around in your birthday suit there is no one to object. I worry whether Lily the “Wild Girl” and I can adjust to the social confines of having neighbors that are closer than a couple of miles. But we will. Because to do so means we grow.
The hardest part of letting go is of course, the mustangs. The chickens can easily be sold and maybe my best girl Sookie will raise a few for FFA. The three remaining cats are all spayed and can come to town where they will be just as demanding as they are now. But the horses! Even thinking about it made me cry; it still makes me cry.
When I adopted my first mustang Jackson and brought him up here it just changed my life. What a great thing! The realization of a childhood dream, to have a horse in my front yard! And the years since, with five more mustangs and two mules, has been as tragic as it has been rewarding and ecstatic. Frankly I don’t know who I am if I don’t wake up and go outside and see my horses. It is exactly like having to give away your children. It does not even matter – well, yes it does, but it doesn’t help – that they are going to a good home. It is not my home. Our home. But I can feel ok about the horses I’ve adopted and saved and who have lived here. I took pretty good care of them, I think. And I’ll continue to be an advocate for horses and for mustangs. For all time.
Red Lodge, this mountain home, was not even my idea, but it has become part of me. It has shaped who I am. I have seen things I never expected and met people I never imagined. I have made so many absolutely angelic, outlandish friends (and you know who you are!).
I have even met a great man, who is my rock, and also my roll! So all I can say folks, is, it’s all good. Life goes on. As do we.
Meanwhile I am absolutely loving this well-deserved Spring on the mountain. It is simply breathtaking.
Your Mountain Mouth
“The Mountain Mouth” copyright 2010 Kate MacDonald
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