I thought. Under contract. At least it was a pleasant fantasy while it lasted.
I’d stumbled upon the listing while perusing the online site Zillow.com, something I’d been doing quite regularly in the past year and a half, just bangin’ around the site checking out properties for sale, daydreaming about my rural dream home I hope to buy someday, my escape from the urban life and home my soul is so weary of, these last few years.
I have my current home half paid off. But a few years ago I came to a realization…………… I really don’t like living in town – actually, this was no great epiphany, as I’d known this all my life, but more of a…… ending of the denial I’d been in on the subject for……. hell, decades. I’ve always dreamed of a home in the sticks, but human nature being what it is, I was on my second house, one which fit in no way into my dreams, but was more of…….. well, a convenience of sorts. Sort of like staying in a dead and worn out relationship that I knew was over, when I know I shouldn’t be there, and probably never should have been there in the first place.
I’ve never been a big fan of people in large quantities. Oh, I can talk to and enjoy my kinda folks quite admirably, for hours on end. But I’m not, and have never been, a fan of large amounts of people in a confined space. Too much of a good thing, and whatnot. I’m no misanthrope, at least not completely. But I do have my limits to tolerating stupid people in large groups. Suffice to say, living in an urban area ups the “idiots per square mile bar graph” a little too far into the red zone for my comfort, if ya catch my drift. I’m also a very self sufficient person, so, though I do understand the concept that “it takes a village”, I’m pretty sure a metropolis is too much of a good thing.
To further complicate matters, city folks are quite………… jumpy. Fire a few rounds off at a rabbit in your urban garden sometime, and you’ll see what I mean. They immediately start running about, screaming, dialing 911, even crawling under cars and hiding. Sheesh. They are an odd lot, these urban creatures. The fact that most of them think that food comes from Wal-Mart, and that it amazes them that sticking a seed in the ground results in ………(gasp!) edible vegetables! Shows clearly, in my (slightly bigoted) mind, how slow witted the vast majority of these urban creatures are. They band together into gangs, and pass ridiculous laws aimed at the poor urban hillbillies like myself. They won’t allow a person to have chickens, quoting health, odors, noise, and so on, yet they see nothing wrong with their pets yapping all night long in their backyard, or allowing same to take a big dump on your property, while they pretend to not notice fido depositing his lawn biscuit. Yeah, just look at your watch for 30 seconds straight while rover’s pinching one off, and you fooled everyone, buddy. 😉
Anyhow, I seem to have drifted a bit.
So I’m perusing the web, looking for that dream homestead, the one I’ve been longing for the past few years. I’m not picky, really, Ideally it needs to be a tiny house…….. and Ido mean tiny, with a decent chunk of land. Not too terribly long a commute from work, as gas prices have been known to suddenly increase in large amounts, causing much stress regarding transportation. With any neighbors at a “reasonable” distance. Room for a large garden, and chickens, pigs, and other smaller “farm” animals welcome. A two car garage would be nice. A barn? That would be grand. No laws against discharging firearms, either, as I am an American, and wish to exercise my rights as such. You know, like the right to turn a critter eating my food in my garden into more food for … me. Really, I just want to live somewhere where I feel free. Free to live as I wish, within reason. Most people resent being told how to live, and there’s too many rules in town for me to be happy. Oh yeah, and one other thing, it’s gotta be cheap, so I can afford it. Heh. Rotsa ruck bro.
So, a few days ago I’m bopping around Zillow, and I come across a 5 day old listing. Two bedroom, two story farmhouse, on one acre of land. 17 miles from work. With a nice two car garage, and barn. And, a small cabin as well, with a fireplace. For $48,500. “Damn! This is the one, bay-bee!” I thought to myself. An acre’s not huge……….. but compared to my .08 acre here in town………
In my mind, I could see myself living there already. Couple o’ chickens, a pig or two in the barn, my magnificent garden full of produce swaying gently in the breeze, a breeze that doesn’t smell like automobile exhaust. The little cabin turned into a “guy zone” with all the trappings, deer head on the wall, hell, maybe even a nice English setter lying at my feet between me and the crackling fire in the fireplace. A couple of tin cans would be lying on their side in the backyard, 25 yards from the kitchen window, riddled with holes suspiciously close to .22 caliber. My mind reeled with the possibilities this property would offer.
A day or two later, I emailed the realtor with some questions and contact info.
She called me on my cell the next morning, and said that the property was under contract already to be sold, and asked if perhaps maybe she might have something else I’d like? What was I looking for?
I stammered out a few basics of just that, but nowhere near all the details, as the wind had left my sails. I suppose I should have simply said “A property exactly like this one”…. But I knew in my mind that that just was a bit………… unlikely. I disconnected, and drove home to the house that serves to both keep rain off my head, and keep me warm, and little else.
Oddly enough, I felt not sadness, but, more of a simple….. discomfort. I had housework and errands to do on this day off from work, but I no longer felt like doing them. I felt the urge to grab a few guns, go to the range, and just shoot a bit. Not to dissolve anger, or sadness, or anything like that, but more of an “intuition” to do it to relax my mind, sort of a zen thing shooting can be, for me. To simply “do”.
Eh, fuggit. I’m not gonna regret a few hours shooting when I’m on my deathbed, so I pitched two pistols, a rifle and some ammo, targets, and other accoutrements into the pickup and headed out.
The weather was quite ugly, with a steady rain, and fog all but obscuring the 100 yard targets. I was only planning on the 50 yard line today anyhow, so I unloaded my stuff. Thankfully this local range has a pavilion style roof over the shooting benches, so the rain was of little import. Somehow the weather seemed to match my dour mood.
No doubt due to the foul weather, no one else was there, save a 60ish year old man wandering about, picking up fired brass from prior shooters that was lying randomly about the ground.
I waved to him, and greeted him with as gregarious a greeting as I could muster under my current circumstances, inquiring as to his luck, and if he reloaded the brass, this being the most likely.
He replied that, no, he didn’t even own a gun, and that he only picked up the empty cartridges up for a friend who reloads them whenever he happened to be driving by.
We chatted a bit, and during the conversation he mentioned that he had just bought a cottage nearby, and that he was a real estate investor, owning many properties throughout the area. I mentioned my current conundrum, and we discussed it to some length. We ended up bullshitting easily an hour and a half away, before he took his leave and I got on to my shooting. I fired perhaps 40 rounds from my own guns, and also tried out another guy’s pistol, and he also tried a few of my guns and chatted good naturedly about ballistics, gun types, etc, etc. I glanced at my watch, and realized that I had to head home, as my ten year old daughter would be getting off the bus soon. 3 hours had slid quickly and comfortably by. And I felt……………. just fine.
I loaded everything into the truck and headed home, home to the house I don’t want to live in. The one with a hoosier cabinet in the dining room, and moss covered fieldstone walls in the back yard, those stones imported by me, one at a time, from various wooded areas I had hunted. The one with a sixteen by sixteen garden, long dead and dormant under the December snow. And I was surprised to realize that I felt just fine. Despite the temporary loss, I hadn’t given up on my dream, after all, not even unconsciously.
I still had hope. And this pleased me greatly. Having in the past given up on dreams with much less resistance.
I’ll get there, one day. This I can feel in my bones.