Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Out of the Box

This essay was written in May of 2007 and was my first published in "The Northeast Georgian" newspaper (Habersham County)

Until this past December 15, I lived in a box with limited windows that was high above the ground. No, I’m not a former resident of one of the state’s prisons, just of a condo in Marietta. Maybe some would see that as a jail of sorts. For me, what felt most confined in that space was my soul.

Don’t get me wrong, it had been a great place to live. The mortgage was low and it served me well for 25 years. But after a while, it felt like all I did after I parked my car was walk across pavement and up the stairs into a Habitrail® for humans. And though my home didn’t have an actual hamster wheel to run on day and night, Metro Atlanta has a way of making you feel like everyone around you is doing just that.

Today, I live in a 100-year old farmhouse in Demorest on eight beautiful acres. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. That’s especially true when I see red-tailed hawks circling on updrafts overhead or hear the frogs peeping from the lake. It’s then that I feel my heart leap out of my chest and I thank heaven that I live here.

This is what speaks to me now – old barns, big trees, even the small green anole lizard that graces my front porch and is sometimes perched atop the statue of the Virgin Mary as she stands there welcoming me home.

I’m not Catholic. I’ve worshipped in Lutheran churches most of my life, and you don’t see statues of the Virgin there. But I love the Holy. I love the Mystery. And my journey has been blessed by that Divine Mystery in ways I’m not nearly as appreciative of as I should be. So when I came to look at this house to rent and saw Mary here, I felt like I was being encouraged by a comforting God to let go of what held me to my old way of living and risk being turned upside down once more.

For fourteen years I visited the northeast Georgia mountains and wished I could live here. But I couldn’t make it happen. In 2003, I was downsized from yet another technology marketing job and decided I’d had enough of corporate life. I’d released my first solo CD and was ready to give this music thing a go. So for the last four years I’ve been on a financial roller coaster (more downs on this ride than ups), surviving by cobbling together musical and speaking engagements with marketing project work. It kind of put a kink in the works when I got nodes on my vocal cords and couldn’t sing for eight months last year. That, plus a host of other odd events left me feeling a little battered. So I finally decided that since I had no security in Marietta, I may as well live where I want to live and have no security. I mean, what’s the difference?

My calendar says that December 15 was the first night of Hanukkah – the Jewish festival of lights. That holiday commemorates a time of rededication of the Temple after it had been ruined by enemy soldiers. Even though there was only enough oil to keep the eternal flame lit for one day, it burned for eight days – just enough time to press the olives and consecrate new oil.

So far here, I’ve found a little bit of work to do but I can’t tell yet how long my monetary “oil” is going to last. Yes, it’s a little scary to throw oneself at the mercy of the heavens to keep the fires burning, but I love it here. I love that I see familiar faces at contra dancing and at church the next day. I love the sight of moonlight washing over the farm fields. So even though I feel a little looney for unplugging from everything I knew in Marietta, when I see that moonlight, all I can do is pray to be allowed to stay here.

Okay, Okay Already.

I seem to be the last person in my world to not have their own blog. Well, okay, that's overstating it a bit, but sometimes it seems that way. I just didn't think I wanted to add another anything to my already overgrown list of things that need care and feeding. So call me The Reluctant Blogger.
On the other hand, I'm also overflowing with opinions - on faith, politics, protecting rural environments and just about everything in between.

So welcome to my brain on blogs. I promise more to come.