for nearly forty years i have dreamed of building my own small home. long before i had ever heard of the “tiny house” concept garnering so much attention these days, i was toying with the idea of building and living in a small cabin in the mountains. in my twenties, i entertained much more elaborate plans than my present self could possibly manage.
my dream house was very small, even more small than the one i envision today. my dream, however, included such labor-intensive living as growing and hunting for my own food, cutting the firewood to heat my cabin, and maintaining an underground root cellar/storage for the food i would need to make it through the cold winters.
back then i loved the snow and cold and planned to live in canada or an unpopulated, mountainous area of the northwestern u.s. where there would be bears and moose and many other wondrous creatures of nature. jeremiah johnson had nothing on me.
i was young, strong, capable, and read everything i could get my hands on from which i could learn the skills i would need to live alone in wilderness. even though i was married at the time, in my dreams, i saw myself alone, living in harmony with the natural world. and, yes, even conquering life in that environment! back then i did not yet understand that “living in harmony” and “conquering” were mutually exclusive.
over many years i drew rudimentary house plans and updated those plans as creativity flowed. inevitably, as i grew older, i made other alterations. gone was the hunting proponent after living in the sky islands of the desert southwest, coming to understand the critters who lived there and their right to go about their own lives, just as i went about mine.
soon i was carefully capturing even scorpions and removing them to the outdoors from whence they came. i began to seriously question my ability to murder another species so that i could eat. what if some larger creature thought that it was okay to kill humans for the meat on our bones? besides, the critters who lived there had been there long before we arrived, so whose land was it really?
gardening remained a viable idea until i became disabled and could no longer even imagine myself bending over for hours in the hot sun for any reason. along with gardening, went the idea of underground cold storage. who would dig it? maintain it? where would the fruits and vegetables come from to store there?
long before all of these things disappeared from my master plan, i moved to arizona and soon abandoned my love of cold. give me the desert or a warm ocean beach anytime. before long even the thought of cold weather made me shiver! still, i held onto my dream, my new dream, of desert land somewhere away from the increasingly crazy world.
after having my house and car broken into and suffering the results of being sexually assaulted while living on an acre of land where, it seemed, no one actually knew their neighbors, i became afraid to live alone in the wilderness. even though experience tells me that animals are far less dangerous than people, i am now dealing with conflicting feelings.
still able to envision myself far away from city life, i am unable to stop the invading feeling of fear that now appears alongside my dream land. perhaps i will opt for an area away from the city, where i can have a little chunk of land (smaller than my original forty-acre goal) where i will come to know my neighbors well, and work on living without fear.
i haven’t given up. i continue to look at ads for available land; i still play with my small-house drawings, adjusting a little here and there as new ideas present themselves. watching videos of the tiny houses being built these days helps to fuel my desires.
they are generally constructed by folks with clever ideas for maximizing small spaces. their many ways of handling the necessities of daily living fuel my own creativity; my drawings have de-volved and evolved through many incarnations over many years.
although my dreams have been tempered by experiences, health issues, and age, at sixty-three i still hold onto what i refer to as the “someday” syndrome. i keep my mind open, always, to new possibilities. perhaps, someday, my dream will come to fruition in some totally unexpected way . . .