Well, it’s gardening time again — our first year cultivating this wild yard that used to be a spooky urban forest before our landlord, Larry, gut-rehabbed our house. “I remember that house” is the refrain we hear from people around town whenever David and I mention gardening and tell them where we live.
To put things in perspective, David’s dad is, among other things, a professional photographer and lecturer, and he has a slideshow all about Appalachia. He knows our landlord, and … true story … before we rented this place, David’s dad used to stop by and tease Larry late at night as he worked on this impossible project of meticulously restoring a “stripped beyond the studs” old house. The contractors in town used to tease Larry, too, asking him why he didn’t simply tear down the property and start from scratch.
As a little mischievous wink, David’s dad photographed the ongoing project and included the slides in his Appalachia slideshow. Between all the overgrown trees pushing up against the house and its ramshackle nature, you really can’t tell the difference between this house and an Appalachia original until much later in the process. All this time, David’s dad had no idea he was chronicling and visiting what would become our new home. At that point, he didn’t even know we were secretly discussing a move to Goshen in order to support David’s parents.
When we finally decided to move here sooner rather than later, David made some synchronous connections with Goshen locals who just happened to fly on his international American Airlines flights. Last August, we visited two of these people, and they asked, “When the heck are you moving here, already?” To which I replied, “Well, you see, our house isn’t ready quite yet. I’ve made a list on my iPhone, and I’m sending my little energy scouts around town to locate the land and manifest the house to specs. One day, you’ll hear we moved to town and you’ll look at that house and be like, ‘What!? That house wasn’t there before.’ And then you’ll know … that’s our house.” I winked and giggled, but David let them know, “She’s really not joking. That’s how she works.”
Sure enough, a few weeks later, on what had become a biweekly, synchronous trek from Madison, WI to Goshen, IN, David and I consulted with Larry to see if he knew of any local properties that fit my iPhone list. We weren’t expecting to rent from him, but David’s dad let us know that Larry’s the guy who knows eco properties in town. When I mentioned the yard, Larry said, “Well, I have a property you can garden. It’s got a big sunny yard, and the house isn’t finished yet, but it will be ready by October. I have to warn you, though, the yard is wild.” Since David and I wild forage, and I love faeries, elves and Nature Spirits, the wildness appealed to us. Larry said, “I guarantee, anything you do to the yard will be an improvement.” He gave us pretty much carte blanche to plant fruit trees and build a little permaculture haven. Tempting.
Soooo, we looked at the unfinished house and tried to imagine it complete. It embodied about 95% of my list, with the 5% being a major nudge from the Universe to stop fixating on things I didn’t want. Goshen’s got trains running and whistling all through town, and I was terrified that I’d never get a good night’s sleep again, no matter where we lived in Goshen. I had spent hours walking around Goshen neighborhoods trying to locate a sunny yard at just the right distance between two train lines so that I’d hear minimal whistling. No go. Everywhere I went in Goshen, I heard the trains. This house, this perfectly old-character, brand new house on sunny land filled with faery portals is very close to the train line. I had to laugh, since the Universe does tend to give me those lessons — “Stop being so serious. Stop limiting yourself thinking you can’t handle this or that. We will show you that you can handle those things and turn them to advantage.”
In the end, we loved the house, and it had arrived so synchronously, met my “prophecy” about it being built to spec as we spoke, and worked so well with our desire to be within walking distance of David’s parents and downtown, as well as having a yard we could turn into an urban food forest/edible landscape, that we decided to rent it, knowing full well I’d have my work cut out for me come Spring. I asked David to do some hypnotherapy on me to make me OK with the train noise, and my higher Self suggested that the whistle be heard as a message: “The Universe loves you.” Every time a train goes by, I feel showered with love … and the train has never interfered with our sleep, since the house is very well insulated. In fact, I used to wake up with the whistles when we stayed at David’s parents’ home, which is much further away from the line, but in our place, I don’t even stir. The only thing I notice is that my dream life has returned to its fabulously creative and active state that the upstairs antique elevator pully inspired when I lived in Chicago.
We took three loads to move in here, and one of David’s old college friends graciously organized gangs of people to move us in each load. They’d all arrive saying, “I remember this house” and marvel at the new construction that truly honors the old. When we returned our first U-Haul truck, we happened to pull up next to one of the contractors, who somehow figured out which house we moved into. He told us the insulation was about a foot thick. “Yep. I remember that house,” he said, shaking his head and having a little chuckle. “It turned out well, but I gotta tell ya … when we got down to those studs and had to go further, we really thought he was crazy to keep going.” We’ve since met people at the Farmer’s Market who said, “I remember that house. You know what? I was actually in that house once, before Larry bought it. Wow. He did a great job. It took a lot of vision to carry that through.”
I know we have faery portals on this land, because I’ve felt them myself. Even more, a friend I’d lost touch with heard we had moved to this property, tuned in and informed my friend Tim that there are “tons of faery portals on that land.” Uh-huh. The faeries, elves and Nature Spirits were depressed at the destruction of their wild woodland, the bane of neighbors and property values, but their home nonetheless. I know that’s why we felt so called to move here. Since I’ve come out in the yard this Spring, they’ve gotten active, nursing crocuses to life in unexpected spots, showing me rich, crumbly soil and wild violets. Last week, while walking in the woods, I told the faeries some of my plans for the yard and asked for their cooperation in bringing these about. In particular, I mentioned wood mulch: “Seriously, I don’t want to work hard for this. Just bring it to me, OK? Lots and lots of wood mulch. I really don’t even want to make phone calls. I just want it in the yard, pronto. There are lots of paths to make and the mulch will protect the plants from drought.”
On my way home, I reminded the faeries of my request, saying I was acting in good faith as a guardian of this land. Within thirty seconds, a tree pruning truck barreled towards me. I blinked then laughed and flagged them down. Not only could they drop mulch at our house the next morning, but when I finished walking home, the mulch truck was already waiting for me, scoping out the delivery sight. “I remember that house!” said the driver. “We did a lot of work here last year.” The next day, I got 7000 pounds of mulch dropped in front.
Our next door neighbors started climbing this mountain of mulch and asked what the heck I intended to do with it, When they learned I planned to use it for gardening and saw me making paths all week, the children in their family decided to grow a garden, too. They’ve now got pots on their porch to grow fresh salsa ingredients and vegetables. They tell me it’s their first garden, and I could hear the faeries giggle their approval. I’ve also got volunteers from around town — people intensely curious about how to transform a weedy, stump filled yard into something beautiful and productive. I’ll be manifesting more mulch and a nice “pile of shit,” soon, too. Yep, composted manure. I’ve been eying it on the Amish farms and subtly sourcing duck poop in seemingly casual conversation. LOL, I have become the scavenger of discarded things … all the “waste” that enriches soil and enhances life.
As I grow this yard and love it into being, I’m conscious of the parallel between Larry growing and loving our home into being, despite it looking like a terribly hopeless, even laughable mess. It reminds me of my painted portal doors, which were discarded, filthy specimens, lovingly cleaned and painted into powerful portals that now pass for beautiful “decorations.”
(Already Substantially Cleaned) Before Picture of the Four of Wands/Karuna Door
It also reminds me of our world today … kind of a microcosmic approach to the sometimes overwhelming issues of our time. Yes, there are some truly ugly, ramshackle, rundown, crumbling structures crying out for rebirth and rejuvenation. Banking, toxic air, water and land, runaway corporations, drones and fascist governments. Without visionaries, all these structures would self destruct or crumble into rotting eyesores, or perhaps be replaced by some kind of cookie cutter, soulless creation, strip mall, One World cashless banking system, FEMA camp, or, Goddess forbid … a lawn (known by Michael Pollan as “Nature under totalitarian rule”).
Without visionaries to imagine and create the New, our world is simply dying, plunging into ugliness and chaos, bereft of structure and, if not downright horrifying, then at least depressing. Yes, it takes vision, imagination, love and dedication to bring the New into being, but in my opinion, it’s worth the effort. Our home and lawn have become an inspiration to others, even before we complete the transformation. Larry held the vision for the house … then we claimed it and made it our own … and now the Faery Realm gets major say in how we work with Nature for our mutual benefit.
In case you haven’t noticed, we are currently gut-rehabbing and replanting our entire world. Change is happening, sometimes on the hyperlocal level. Sometimes in your own town or even your own backyard! If you feel discouraged by the state of our world, look for the beauty in discarded things. Become the visionary; embody the artist. Old junk can become shabby chic, whimsically innovative, or simply inspired. Like it or not, we’ve inherited this crumbling 3D world. Like it or not, we live in a world that grows according to our thoughts, love, imagination and actions. What would you love to build or rebuild today? What secret portals and rebirths might you find and nurture while you cultivate eyes to see and ears to hear? Look, listen and feel. The New awaits your invitation and belief!