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posted 4 December 2004
page: one two
this is me
coming into focus
there's nothing like getting away from home to bring it all into perspective * last time i tried to do a page for Caspar i had just gotten my world rocked by Canyonlands * i came home all unsettled & i couldn't get the river dreams out of my mind * a friend of mine told me not to sell my coast & my redwoods short but he missed my point * to fall so hard for Canyonlands that my own headlands don't fill me up all the way is the highest compliment i can give *
i've always lived here in snippets, stolen summers & headstrong years * once i was dragged away from here kicking & screaming even * i'll keep coming back * every time i walk on the headlands i am memorizing one more moment in the life of this land where my own life began * this place, oldest, wisest member of my family, is so much a part of me that it's hard to separate it from the rest of my life * when people ask me where i live i don't know whether to give the easy quick answer (North of San Francisco a ways) or to brag about our community, our treasured open headlands, the beaches up & down the road, forests & streams to the east, the milky way nights we keep it dark to enjoy *
armpit hair #19
the last time i fell short of describing my beloved town was in DC when my new Kiwi friends asked with delight, "what's a small town, half a million?" my feelings were almost hurt (!) & i barely responded * i think my perception is warped living on the West Coast, especially as i stay above the Bay Area * now i wish i'd given the full answer * i wish i'd told them to come see it *
homestead #10: my house
homestead #4: the "new house" faces the sunset to the right of the "green house"
homestead #3: the spaceship old house
homestead #5: pink cabin guest house
i want all my friends to come see my hometown * i think a person would be crazy to turn down the invitation (to anybody's hometown, but of course i think mine's special ...& they all are, wanna trade?) *
mi casa es su casa
my house is in the center of town, where Caspar Road meets Caspar Street, 2 houses down from my folks in what i still call the "new house" * i came home one year to frame it (where the "pink house" used to be & "Mrs. Pink House" lived, of course) with my dad &, when we were lucky, my sister * to work with my hands & my family again is one of the many cravings that brought me home again (now that the new one is livable, the old one is up for serious repair) * the new house is now an adorable, comfortable house with concrete sinks, radiant floors & an ocean sunset view * it's independent enough so that they can keep watching the super bowl or cooking the turkey when the power goes out, a cherished & envied ability in these parts *
speaking of ocean views, my house, an oldie & a goodie ("Myrtle's house"), just got its view back today when an old plum tree got the ax (we take our own trees down here in Caspar too, just so's you know, you capable Kiwi boys) * each room has the old windows with the 5 skinny panels across the top, lights * there is a lot of light -- i can have plants in every room, wow * there's a fireplace (between built-in shelves under a lovely room-wide mantle) in the living room, more built-ins (all filled with books) in the dining room which is joined to the living room by a fat half wall & columns that make the front room cozy & wide at the same time * the kitchen needs some lovin' but it is spacious, boasts that newly revealed ocean view & a woodstove that can heat the whole house in a pinch * my office is half windows so i can watch Pippin in the back yard & the birds at the feeders until the sunlight starts to get orange through the trees & i know it's time to head out for the daily walk * there's an upstairs i don't use, but it'll make a great guest room, as if there's not already plenny of space downstairs * the place feels huge to me * room to grow, hah * but cozy too * the daily walk is out onto the headlands & down to the beaches & i never get used to it *
living the questions
i seem to do things backwards * i figure out what i want & i slide off in the other direction * just goes to show you don't always know what you want * several years ago i started to feel like i could live in the easy comfort of Oly for the rest of my life, surrounded by steady friends, forests mountains rivers desert so close in all directions... so what did i do? by some strange logic that i once regretted (among the very few things i have ever regretted) but which probably saved me, i decided i should travel "one last time" (knowing there is never any last time once that bug bites) * believe me, i'm just an average girl: i want a home to last my life, a family, a child, a dog, a little piece of land, a bird bath, all the things i need to absorb all the love in my tender silly heart *
i thought i was there (i wasn't) * i felt like i wanted to settle down & grow redwood roots ...so i figured i better get away one more time, see some world, find my way by looking at it from a distance * i haven't stopped rolling yet *
i spent 8 refreshing months back in Caspar, working with my hands * i went on a sewing binge, making bags for all purposes * i worked with wood all day, watching the walls go up with pleasure * i began learning how to work a website * i listened to all the music in Spanish i could find & spent hours seeking out & reading hard to find books about my destination, Nicaragua * i was getting spoiled for life, as always * learning i could do anything i set my mind & heart to *
if i was ever the type to hold a "steady" job those months ruined me * my family's never been big on money * time yes, money not so much * i walk down the street, across the headlands & down to a near-secret beach which feels my footfalls as much as anyone else's & i feel rich beyond description * if there's enough to eat, enough to work on the houses, enough to keep the mind going, there's enough *
armpit hair #9
i had enough to go to Nicaragua for two months * as always when i meet a new piece of the world my life is changed * looking back i can see that i chose my current path way back then, if not before * when i came home from that trip i felt like i'd gone through fire & been blessed by it * my eyes were a little bit more open, heart quite a bit more full, willing & ready to give my all *
i'd been taught by the beautiful, patient, loving Nubia trained to teach during the revolution, using her old books, hidden, treasured, dangerous * i'd dreamed of sharks on Lake Nicaragua, looked into the mouth of hell only to see parakeets flying out * i'd spent nights getting drunk on good nica rum, singing revolutionary songs with the boys in the wild west, telling them there was no way Bush would win... but making sure i was home in time to vote * then when the unthinkable happened i thought not of my own life, knowing it would change slowly if at all, but of my young friends singing & hoping down South, knowing that the name Bush means more to them than it will ever mean to me (let's hope we never come to know it so in this country -- but that's up to us, not him) *
i was just in DC with some lovely lovely Kiwis (i keep repeating myself i know but i was thoroughly smitten) & one of them was commenting on being in the "capital of the world" & even though i hope that's not true i thought immediately of my nica friends & understood before he finished the next sentence that he was thinking of how much what happens here effects the rest of the wide world, even kiwis tucked down in their paradise land * "shouldn't the rest of us be allowed to vote?" he asked ...& wouldn't Sarah & i love to let them!
wouldn't i love it if she moved to New Zealand & i could visit? wouldn't i love her to find me one of those lovely Kiwi boys i could follow home & live near her again after too long too far apart, in paradise? wouldn't i love to run away? i joked about that before i even met Ewan's mates ...but could i abandon this land?
loving the land
i'm not saying there's not still one in human form out there for me, but the love of my life so far has been the land & the waters * i've fallen in love with more places than people * mostly i'm a West Coast girl, but all sorts of places win my heart * my connection to this little chunk of the California coast makes me feel richer than anybody i know * i may be on my 20th address (Sarah too, isn't it funny how we travel such similar paths so far apart?) but this one has always been here for me, will always be here for me (providing my sister & i don't mess it up ourselves) * to be born & to die in the same place is a rare luxury -- it may not be mine but that's up to me, not this place *
loving this land -- not just this land, but the Olympics, Canyonlands, the Bitterroot Valley & all the places i've yet to see -- how could i leave it? how shall i fight for it? is it enough to love it? to cherish it everyday, to memorize it, to share it with my friends & with my future? how can i best use my own voice for the voiceless (only because we don't know how to listen) since my vote obviously doesn't count?
armpit hair #28
Sarah & i were talking about fleeing the country & she asked me what is enough to provoke me? shouldn't i be taking to the streets first? do i sit silent? what is enough from me? how can i give my life to the land? i would walk it like Craig Childs or Ed Abbey, runs its rivers like Ellen Meloy, chase its wild light like Tom Till or Art Wolfe, speak its gorgeous awful contridictions like Ferlinghetti, can i raise my voice like they do? seems i've got to try, doesn't it?
i'm really on a tear this time...
homestead #2: Caspar seen from the headlands
the spaceship (the old house) is at the far left * you can't see Annie's cabin or my house but you can see the old church steeple behind us * in the center is what used to be the "green house" where i was born (upstairs, right) * next door you can't see the new house either, it's a little thing * on the other side of the eucaltypus is the Caspar Inn *
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