Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's September 1st!

Back in May 2010 when I set up the "AG's Tumbleweed" website I said on the Home page I would get going with building myself a Tumbleweed in September. And right now, that looks like what I am about to start doing!

In the last few days I've watched my Miss Potter DVD several times, with and without the director's commentary and the other special features with the actors etc. I don't often do that ~ watch the same film several days running. It reminded me of February this year when I read Stones into Schools (that's a big fat book!) over and over and over again in a 7-10 day period... And that complete immersion in the disasters and challenges Greg Mortenson and his team face in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan prepared me for what was next in my life: the totally unexpected discovery that my house had foreclosed and been sold without my knowing about it until several days later!

(I was due to leave for India a couple of days after, so I postponed my trip for a week, packed up the house with the help of three friends ~ feeling like a zombie for 2 days, completely in the dark about my future until I woke up on the third day with a vision of what was next: building and living in a Tumbleweed! ~ put everything in a storage container on wheels and left happily for my 3-week annual retreat.)

So what is it about the Miss Potter film that I'm absorbing? I'll only know with hindsight, but here are the obvious:

1. Her courage to do something outrageous (for a Victorian woman to leave the safety and security of her London family home, set up on her own in the Lake District, all alone ~ her fiance, Norman Warne, her close friend, admirer and totally involved partner-as-publisher of her books, having just died ~ and finance herself by writing & publishing books, none of it approved of by her family: almost unique for someone of her class in those days! missionary wives being the only exception I can think of).

2. Her enormous success in a field that opened up in the years following that courageous first step
(buying up farms that developers were trying to take over, keeping them on as working farms, providing work for the farmers and farmhands, becoming a highly successful breeder of Lake District sheep, and eventually donating 4,000 acres of beautiful land to the National Trust so that the Lake District is preserved to this day thanks to her foresight; and after eight years, marrying the country solicitor who was helping her find and purchase the farms, William Heelis ~ she was 47 by then, more than 25 years beyond marriageable age, and her mother predictably disapproved!).

3. She escaped town living
(London) and chose to live instead in the gorgeous (and in those days probably quite primitive), quiet, peaceful setting of a cottage high in the dells of the Lake District. [I just came back in and highlighted "high in the dells" because, yes, I would love to live in the mountains somewhere!]

So all that resonates for me:
1) getting away from town living here in Phx
2) having the courage and trust to leave the security of family and friendship (my sister Chloe) and good friends nearby
3) taking a first step (building a TW) towards living in the country in a quiet, peaceful situation...

Then at lunch today it was clinched in an unexpected way. I opened up Spiritual Link magazine and read a piece I had dismissed and ignored several times because it starts out with the general panic these days and a reference to "Chicken Little," comparing her 'the sky is falling' panic to the current panic around the world regarding the economic downturn, the possible failure of banks and social security, the destruction of the environment, perhaps the end of the world. Today I finally got beyond the first couple of paras and read on, realizing what a well-written piece it is and that it was probably written by friend Faith Singh (all articles are anonymous) because BJ had told her to. There was a para in there that my mind immediately expanded into a message for me:
God is providing every single thing that we need. Perhaps not what we want but exactly what we need. How fortunate we are not to have to be burdened with the weight of the world crises, falling economies, wars, terrorists and environmental resource depletions. For whatever will be, will be.
My mind appreciated the bottomline comfort ('all we need do to turn our focus towards God is to meditate') and simultaneously (and a bit contrary-wise, against the 'no worry' message of the article) saw that: I can leave my savings in the bank and possibly lose all of it and be left with nothing at all, or I can take the risk to use the savings to purchase the lumber etc. I need for building a Tumbleweed house on wheels. Would I rather have nothing or have a house on wheels? That was the image I got ~ a strong nudge to go for a TW.

Tonight I realized it's September 1st ~ right on schedule with getting going on the TW project after a summer of putting it almost entirely aside with a view to investing with friends in land and building tiny strawbale cottages instead. A trio of us have looked at land during the summer and now the two of them are both pulling back, feeling this is not the time; Chloe is basically content with her Phx situation and periodically nudges me in the direction of settling down here for the long haul. So I'm not going to have support from Phx friends and family in this. I need to cut my own bonds and free myself to go into action on my own ~ trusting that people will be there to help as needed... and that Chloe may (or may not) in the end join me in a TW of her own in the place(s) where I live.

Tomorrow I'll write Gretchen in Sedona and ask about carpenters among our friends there, and whether I can rent a room in her house (especially if she goes to Texas to join her husband Peter in the voluntary construction work he's doing there ~ yes, Peter K. is the one who originally agreed to teach me carpentry and help me design & build a TW...before he got a call to come to Texas!).

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