Dreaming Home

New moon framed by utility wires.

Last night I looked up from my reading and spotted the new moon sliding toward the horizon. I leaped up, snagged my camera, slipped on my flip-flops and headed out the front door, along the deck, across the courtyard and up the stairs to the second-floor deck of the studio.

I snapped some shots of that slim crescent glimmering as it dropped past the utility wires in the alley. As the earth continued to turn, I watched the moon disappear behind the distant peaks.

I turned too, and headed to the stairs.

Creek House at dusk, with S Mountain and the Arkansas Hills in the distance. Creek House at dusk, with S Mountain and the Arkansas Hills in the distance.

As I rounded the corner, I looked down and my heart filled. There was my sweet house, the little place I envisioned as a nest for me after Richard’s death, glowing in the dusk. Home.

I did it! I thought. I made it happen.

Not by myself, of course, and not easily.

One evening in late winter, 2012, I walked the length of this long, skinny parcel, the last still-junky part of our formerly industrial property. I paced through dried skeletons of kochia and tumbleweed, past the pile of rounded boulders Richard stashed here for sculptures that would new never be created, imagining a house and studio.

My house site before construction. (The boulders are Richard's spare sculpture materials.) My house site before construction. (The boulders are Richard’s spare sculpture materials.)

They would be small and sustainable, generate solar power and require very little energy, structures that reflected the industrial past of the parcel and also would enhance the neighborhood and be a joy to live in. With, of course, landscaping that would not only incorporate the native plant community, but would provide habitat for pollinators and songbirds, along with a host of other critters large and small.

I could see it. As the stars winked on overhead, I made my wish: that I could somehow manage to make that vision real.

I have. Earlier this month, I passed the final inspections, the last regulatory hurdle on both buildings.

The tiny house-to-be with its small garage with studio above. Like the big house, it's also passive solar and will be powered by a (much smaller) photovoltaic array. The “tail,” with house and garage/studio drawn in.

Back in March of 2012, standing on what was a weed-choked former industrial dump site, I had a lot to learn about everything related to building. First, I had to subdivide this odd-shaped “tail” from the rest of the property.

I had to finish Terraphilia, the house and historic studio combination where Richard and I had lived. Which meant learning how to hang interior doors, trim windows and door openings, and to invent and put in baseboard, as well as finishing some cabinetry and figuring out how to finish the master bath.

The tub is usable, but the walls around it need finishing; the shower plumbing is in the wall to the left. The unfinished tub-shower area in the master bathroom at Terraphilia.

I had to finagle the financing to make my tiny house and studio a reality before I sold Terraphilia (where all my money lived). I had to choose the right people to design and build my new place.

And I had to figure out how to earn enough money to pay my everyday bills during the process, and to overcome my fears about not knowing anything about what I was attempting to do or not being able to make the whole complicated dream into reality.

Last night, looking down at Creek House in the dusk, I knew I had made the right decisions. That I am finally home in this new life after Richard. Home in a place that speaks my mission to live with my heart outstretched as if it were my hand. To fashion a sustainable life that honors the community of my fellow humans and the community of the land.

A happy life, too.

My evening spot on the street-side of the front deck My spot on the street-side of the front deck, next to my tiny kitchen garden.

Tonight, sitting in my evening spot on the deck and watching the last light tint the mountainsides gold, my heart is still full. I am home. Not in the forever home Richard built for the two of us. Home in the place I dreamed up to shelter me as I learned how to live on my own.

Thank you to all who helped me make that dream real. I am blessed.