To say that the second part of yesterday’s post was cathartic would be a colossal understatement. Dealing with an unfortunate turn-of-events is something that each of us learns to do, of course. Talking through the situation out loud or writing it down can help.
Doing so publicly is an entirely different thing.
For better or worse, that’s what I chose to do. It wasn’t so much a confession as it was something I felt I owed to friends and readers of Ubi Libertas Blog.
I mean, if you’re following along, you should hear about disappointment as well as success. Both are part of the deal.
The point we reached yesterday is central to what I’ve been posting about for the last year, and not disclosing it would’ve been dishonest (or felt dishonest) — understandable, but no less a fraud. Though I may not talk about every headache and hangnail, I’m pretty open about what we’re doing and I couldn’t (in good conscience) hide the ball now.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
And then there’s the matter of pride. I’m proud of many things, but pride is different — hubris is the opposite of humility. Even in the face of humbling circumstances, I refuse to let my ego run the show.
Finally, Deb and I aren’t the least bit embarrassed. Our decisions were sound when we made them and we feel no shame in having to change course now — we regret nothing. The Mountain is still here and so are we. Our dream is alive. We can’t fail unless we stop chasing it.
So yeah, we’re just fine here in Ozarkansas.
Campground Dispatch: I’m thrilled to report that the Harrison KOA Holiday passed its annual franchise inspection with flying colors, 97 points out of a possible 100. Our hosts work their asses off ’round here and earned every bit of that score.
Smudge, now two days post-op, is doing great. Watching her bounce around the bus since she returned home Wednesday afternoon, I’m reminded of the ServPro slogan — “Like it never even happened.”
A stoic little canine missile, she is.
Okay, maybe she’s been sleeping a little more as her body heals from surgery. Often she’ll stretch out on the floor next to my chair, and yesterday morning that’s where she was, eyes closed, while I was coming to grips with having to halt our homestead plans. I reached down with my left hand and stroked the side of her face — a simple act which instantly brought me a measure of calm.
Her eyes still closed, she extended her foreleg and put her paw into my palm. I turned in my chair so I could reach her face with my other hand. As soon as she felt my touch, her paw squeezed my fingers.
That, my friends, was a moment. She never did open her eyes.
Scout and I developed that kind of bond when she was a puppy herself. We still have it 13 years later. It’s starting to look like Smudge and I speak that same language.
So, then, what are those “ideas” that Deb and I are considering now for The Mountain?
For the moment I’ll say that our short-term goals are to find a way to live temporarily on the homesite, thereby saving the expense of campground fees, and vacating the bus so we can put it on the market. To do it, no matter how we do it, we’ll have to establish functioning water, septic and electric.
We believe we can get that done.
Questions are as numerous as they are inevitable. Could we have seen this coming? Probably — or maybe, given the benefit of hindsight. If we’d anticipated our blown budget, could we have pulled the trigger on Plan B (which really is something like Plan G at this point) any sooner? I don’t think so, considering that the septic system was finished only a couple of weeks ago.
Would we do anything differently? Knowing what we know now, you mean? Of course we would. If that weren’t the case, we would’ve learned nothing from the experience. But again, we have no regrets. We won’t second-guess the past at the expense of advancing confidently into the future.
“For the most part, we are not where we are, but in a false position,” Thoreau said. “Through an infirmity of our natures, we suppose a case, and put ourselves into it, and hence are in two cases at the same time, and it is doubly difficult to get out. In sane moments we regard only the facts, the case that is.”
We go on not from where we thought we’d be, or where we wish we were, but from where we are.
“The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”the final lines of Walden
There’s no getting around it — I’m tired. The enterprise of building on The Mountain drains me even when everything is proceeding in semi-linear fashion, but this hard stop has stolen wind from my sails.
Deb feels the same slump, I know.
That’s natural. We’re not fighting it. We know it’s not a permanent condition.
“You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion,” Robert Pirsig observed in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. “It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.
“Here’s where things grow.”
Those words both guide and sustain me. Throughout this endeavor, Deb and I have focused on the process — “where things grow” — and yet the whole point of the climb has been to reach the top. Now we’ve paused short of our summit to map a different route.
Up on The Mountain, as it turns out, Pirsig’s metaphor of the mountain is apt.
This is intensely personal for me. I feel my life-clock ticking, which tends to inflame my impatience. What I must do, it seems to me, is rediscover my “equilibrium” — the elusive sweet spot where I can enjoy the climb.
Truth is, it’s the only way.
To close here, and returning to Walden, I’ll dismiss that gnawing sense of my mortality and embrace each moment, remembering that “There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.”
Thanks for reading today. This is important to me.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.