28 February 2007

Realizing the Dream or the Dream Realizing Us

Long story short... In the course of January vacations State-side, Christine and I found out that we were to be evicted from our fishing village home on the account that our landlords' daughter announced her wedding for February and our dear neighbors wanted to gift her our house (of course we were still invited to the wedding). In our rush to return home to pack and move and to figure out where to, Christine's grandfather passed away suddenly and we delayed our return nearly another 2 weeks. Asking the Universe what all the chaos meant, we already knew in our hearts that we had to leave our fishing village, that it was our destiny to plunge ourselves into the dream of being on our own land. Stained glass tokens of Grandpa French in tow, we decided to pursue the sustainable path immediately, carrying the energy of our ancestors with us in the hopes that the combined effort of dreams past and present might help us realize a new life in el Bosque. The Universe was convinced we were ready so why resist?

The cabin at sunset upon arrivalWe arrived to the reality that the cabin in el Bosque had been broken into since our December visit, pipes connecting the rainwater system broken, the kitchen sink and gas stove stolen, and the wood-burning stove, though still there, lacking its chimney. But, thankfully, we were not alone in our quest for the sustainable path, Rocky our old dog friend from the coast joining us, followed shortly by a seemingly multitude of perfectly timed February guests (Marcelo’s sobrinas Judi Helen and Mariel our first angels in disguise to arrive) all eager to help us paint, varnish, clean, and construct the basic water and waste systems necessary to turn the forest, with its initially alien-like inhabitants and habits, into a home we more readily recognized or at least accustomed ourselves to.

A semi-family photo the day Judi and Mariel headed back to Santiago, vowing to return despite the hard-labor we put them throughOur greatest gifts arrived just after the Chinese Lunar New Year welcoming in the Year of the Boar: the expansion of our family to include Jorge, Loreto, and their son Horacio, accepting our invitation to join us in our adventurous pursuit of a sustainable life in the forest, moving from Santiago to do so, and providing more balance to our chaos than they can possibly ever know. And of course the near-adoption of Marcelo's father Chayito, our expert plumber keen on supervising the construction of a water tower and a new septic system, and dear Moises, who agreed to act as our guide in building a second house on the property, all by hand, the old-fashioned way.

At every turn and obstacle of the beginning weeks, we discovered a guide to lead us, teach us, show us a better way. And it is no mere coincidence that the land where we live, the forgotten forest, lacks a name save el Camino al Kaman, translated from the language of the Mapuche people to be "the way to a guide.” Living literally on the road to a guide is certainly not without its challenges, frustrations, and wayward obstacles, but it is also an incredible existence of inspiration and creation, that a friend once put it, “in the way that humans are meant to be challenged.” I heartily agree, but ask me again next month when and if the septic system is up and running.