Friday, August 30, 2013

Grin and Bear it

It's been a weird summer for me. So much going on, and at the same time, nothing happening. We've been trying to sell our house for 2 months... 3 months?... and so far, not much. We want to move to Portland. We want a bigger (more vegan friendly) pond, more opportunities, a closer reach to aging and young family. We've been in Taos for 12 years, minus a 15 month stint in a 30 foot 5th wheel trailer that left us longing for more of that smaller/bigger life.

Almost 3 years back here since then, it really feels like time to go. But then I have to wonder - if the house isn't selling and we're not going, is it really time? Do we have any control over this? Do our wishes matter at all? Some days I feel like a hostage in my own house. Local wisdom has it that The Mountain either rejects you or embraces you, but this is kind of ridiculous. I've been considering filing charges against Taos Mountain for kidnapping, because clearly we're being held here against our will.

And then I look at this summer, and what continues to unfold as it rolls into September, school busses are back on the roads, and we have to seriously consider buying some fire wood, just in case... Are we here for a reason? Still here, after all this time of trying to leave, for something we had not considered before? Part of the reason we want to go to Portland is that it's so darn vegan friendly, while Taos is most certainly not. At the same time it occurs to me that they have so many vegans in Portland already, maybe we can do more good here than there. I don't like that idea, but I have to consider it, because I'm here, like it or not. While the house continues to show but not sell, other things come up that keep me from going crazy or getting a job at Walmart or running off to Mexico with my exhausted credit cards and a couple hundred dollars in cash. 

We have friends suddenly in the midst of a medical crisis, who welcome the dinners I make for them several times a week. I've also been invited to cook for a fundraising dinner to rebuild a school in Gambia. Just when I think I have nothing more to offer to this town, there are people who need me, and who actually want to eat my vegan cooking. There's no fame or fortune in it, but I like doing these things, and I feel sort of, almost... happy.

A couple of nights ago, the dogs started barking in an unusually agitated way, along with all the other dogs  in the immediate area. We soon realized it was because there was a large black bear in the yard, who had wandered down from the mountains in search of the fruit that didn't form on any of the trees in town this year. It was a hard spring with inopportune freezes, and it looks like it might be a hard fall and winter for the animals. In 12 years here, we have never had a bear come this far down into the neighborhood. It was scary and wonderful, and I sort of hope it comes back.

I looked up "bear totem" online, and found that visiting bears bring a message of introspection, telling us to look within to know ourselves. Bears also symbolize the ultimate protective mother, bringing fearless power that connects us to both earth and sky (they can run fast, and climb trees), day and night (they function equally well in both), sun and moon (strong and gentle energies). I don't know if the bear was delivering a message, or if it was just hungry. It doesn't matter what was "true", because what was true for us is the whole point of introspection in the first place. 

I'm a little bit annoyed to feel the need to close the front door at night now, rather than letting the fresh cool night wander through the house. I'm sad to give up the possibility of sleeping on the patio on clear nights, even though we've only had the chance to do that twice in this oddly extended monsoon season. I wonder if we should take down the hummingbird feeders, but I don't want to deprive the birds. And I feel for the bear, and all the other bears who must be searching for the sustenance that will get them through the winter. Aren't we all beginning to think of doing the very same thing?

If we're here for another winter, will I be able to see it as a good thing? Will I find within myself, whatever it takes to rest and regroup and surrender to the dark months? I really have no idea. And I really hope it doesn't come to that. Still... there is the possibility that now is not the time to leave this place. And if that's the case, I'm going to have to figure out how to deal with it. A bear in my yard, on a random August night, might be the thing that gets me through. 

It does not seem strange in any way that an animal should come to us in a peaceful but extraordinary way, to tell us something we need to know. Everywhere I go, I connect with animals in a way I never did as a meat eater. They seem to understand that I have no intent to harm them, and in return, they're generally either really calm around me, or really happy to see me. I won't be at all surprised if one day little birds tie ribbons in my hair.

Meanwhile, I have all this human thought process, and a computer, and the ability to type, although before I finish my final edits, it usually looks like a bear did the typing for me. I want to sell this house and leave this place and move on to whatever is new and waiting for us out there.

We're having a big yard sale this weekend, with all the usual yard sale stuff, and then there is literally a yard for sale. Buy it and we'll throw in a darling adobe house for free! If you know someone who would like the newness of Taos after too long someplace else, please send them this link to my house listing. Have them call Peter, and tell him I sent them, because I get a better deal on the commission that way.

I'm doing what I can to leave, and also doing what I can to make being here all it can be. Some days I want to scream and yell at God for messing with my mere human wishes. Some days I can grin and bear it. Bear it... yeah. Those are the best days. Those are the days I can just keep doing my work, knowing it's all for something good I haven't even thought of yet. I'm no Dr. Dolittle, and I can't talk to the animals any more than most people can, but I sure hope they keep talking to me. Whatever happens, I'll be listening - and cooking for anyone who wants me to.


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Hazel Young said...

Hang in there! Portland does not need your veganness, the Internet does.
However, your family needs you closer and it WILL happen. Just go with the flow, and remember your door will always have to be closed at night in Portland!

PA said...

Good luck, Kim. I know you must miss OR; I liked it too. And of course, even though I'm a TX resident now, I still miss NM too. It's too bad I'm not independently wealthy - I'd buy your lovely Taos house for a second home. Surely, somebody will see what a wonderful place it would be to live and buy it so you can move on to your next adventure. Sending positive vibes your way! P.A.

Kathy Lowe said...

What a cute place. Looks like you've painted the inside since the last time you tried to sell. Have you had a stager come and give you some ideas. Friends have used them and "poof" it sells.

When I was learning to make beads and sell, I kept my eye on your business model because I so admired your work. You were always working it, head down, moving forward and being persistent and consistent. Keep cooking; maybe offer to be a sous chef in a restaurant that's open to some of your vegan ideas and see what that's like. You just haven't been discovered yet. You'll get to Portland, but I like the thought from Hazel about being on the internet. It seems to be where the lifeblood of the vegan world gets noticed.

Kim Miles said...

Thanks everyone. No matter where I am, I hope the internet will remain my place of business. Can't imagine getting a real job out there at this point n the game, and opening a restaurant would be right up there with rubbing chili pepper in my eyes. ;o) Getting noticed is the hardest part, and I'm so grateful to everyone for sharing my links and talking me up!