There’s a part of me that longs to live on top of the world where no one could bother me, no one could build right next to me, where I could look out and see forever. So, naturally, when I read the MLS listing for a mountaintop home, I had to go see it in person. Discovering what you truly want is a process of discernment–distinguishing whether something feels good or not–and then choosing either for or against what is experienced, and that is best done in person.
Sure enough, this little house sits right on top of a mountain, and from the deck on the down side there are, indeed, magnificent views.
The living room has a wood-burning stove and forced air heat for winter. This day was hot, but a gentle breeze mitigated the intense summer heat, and the temperature inside was quite comfortable. The kitchen was well-organized and even included a closet for a small freezer or washing machine.
In the master bedroom were two closets–one with a bar for hanging clothes, the other with shelves for folded clothes. The tiny bath had a bath tub, toilet and narrow, free-standing cabinet.
The real estate agent wanted to see what, if anything, was beyond this “mountain top cabin,” so we walked down the dirt road.
First thing I realized was that there had been only enough space for her truck to be parked off-road by the cabin we’d just seen. No other parking space was available–only the narrow dirt road we were walking. That meant no visitors unless they wanted to park below and hike up the mountain that took us twenty minutes by truck.
Then we passed an old, finned vehicle, circa 1959. The hood was propped open, and its battery was attached to an orange, outdoor extension cord. I turned to see where it originated, and sure enough, it was plugged into the cabin’s electrical service. Then I noticed the water hose that also came from the house and lay on the road going down hill toward the next house.
As we approached the end of the road I saw a man and called out my greeting. We introduced ourselves and before he could recover from the shock of visitors, I asked if he knew the owner of the cabin and why she was leaving. He said, “She’s a really sweet gal. Lets me tie my electrical and water into her place. ‘Course, I pay half the bill. She’s been really sick; that’s probably why she’s leaving.”
I took that in with my own feelings about him. What kind of person intentionally builds a new house with no water or electrical, just assumes he’ll be using hers? And, what kind of person allows a neighbor to tie in to their utilities for a long term?
While the realtor talked with this neighbor, learning more about the property and circumstances surrounding it, I listened to the whisperings in my mind. This neighbor reminds me of my neighbor in town who borrows tools and brings them back broken.
Intrigued by this young gal who owns the mountain top house–inferences from the clothing I’d seen–I suddenly remembered the empty second closet in the master bedroom, the second bedroom empty of furniture and possessions except for a tiny table with an electric air freshener on top. I now saw, quite vividly in my mind’s eye, that hefty length of hose and the heavy duty electrical cord trailing from her house.
I even smelled the evil odor that had nearly knocked me down when the real estate agent had first opened the door–the smell I had chosen to disregard because the kid in me wanted to live on a mountain top. It was old cigarette smoke soaked with fear, and I remembered the intense odor of her bedroom. My imagination jumped in and pieced the details together.
She couldn’t sleep for worry, feeling trapped, and lay awake puffing one cigarette after another trying to figure out how she’d get out of that agreement with the imposing neighbor who was easily four times larger than she, the agreement that had driven her relationship person away–either a partner or a housemate who was just fed up with the whole deal.
I imagined myself living there, high on a mountain top, completely isolated from anyone except this one large, overbearing neighbor, in the middle of one of Durango’s deep snow storms, but without all those city plows. Me, the gal who recently loaned yet another tool to my leech of a neighbor.
Suddenly the views were not so important . . . the mountaintop had become a dangerous situation, and I felt the thick blanket of old cigarette smoke, the heaviness of “a good turn gone bad” now weighing on her heart with such pressure it might explode.
I turned to the real estate agent and said, “Ready when you are. I’ve seen enough. Thanks.” I headed back to her truck without even the tiniest glance toward all those gorgeous views.
“Trying on” a possible relocation site is absolutely critical, especially for me, because I’m willing to consider something I haven’t done before. I have a short list of things I want (a beautiful natural setting, preferably with trees and water, good neighbors, quiet), but the rest will come as I discern from each experience whether or not I choose to have it on an ongoing basis. The experience of this isolated “mountaintop cabin” is not one I choose to continue.
Till next time, I’ll be Skating Thru the adventure of moving–from home, while waiting for the relocation astrologer’s call. How about you? Feeling like some kind of change is in the air?