|Farewell to Wisteria Cottage. Hello, next adventure!|
Wisteria Cottage and the surrounding property are being sold, and Ani and I must move again to our fifth home in less than two years. Living so simply has allowed me to breathe deeply for the first time in a long while. This past summer was one of the best of my adult life.
I've enjoyed special time with my daughter Katie, who lives next door in what I call the "Big House." We've picked sun-ripened berries, hung out and talked and made meals together that we've shared over Netflix movies.
My pared-down life at Wisteria Cottage taught me that I'm built of strong stuff, likely passed through the genes by my Swedish grandma, Lydia Blomgren Smith, who raised 11 children in a remote log cabin with no running water or electricity. Although my Wisteria Cottage summer pales in comparison to Grandma's challenges, I proved to myself that I could live three months without immediate access to a bathroom, kitchen or running water. It's given me the courage to take risks and be open to trying new adventures.
I sang karaoke with fellow reporters 20 or more years younger than me.
For a second season, I've paddled a dragon boat with the Mighty Women, and felt my stroke--and my arms--growing more powerful as the summer progressed.
On a blue-sky June day, my friend Patty and I paddled kayaks and enjoyed front-row sightings of multiple blue herons and other water fowl at the Ridgefield Wildlife Refuge. That paddle had been on my bucket list for a decade.
I learned to shoot a bow and realized it's much more difficult than Legolas makes it look in "The Lord of the Rings" movies. By my second lesson with Kirby, I managed to hit the target, an empty milk jug, with three of my four arrows. If I ever encounter a ferocious orc, I'm ready to take him on!
Kirby and I paddled kayaks a few times this summer. My favorite was when we paddled with more than a dozen others in handcrafted skin-on-frame kayaks at the confluence of the Colville and Columbia rivers in Northeastern Washington where I was raised.
With Kirby I also camped along the Deschutes River, hiked the Old Columbia River Gorge Highway trail, toured Maryhill Museum of Art, the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and saw Native American petroglyphs along the Columbia River. All these had been on my bucket list for years.
Another longtime dream of mine was realized when we camped in a tipi, something I'd wanted to do since seeing tipis in Montana many years ago.
We swing danced on the grass at the Great Circle Music Festival near La Grande, Oregon, to the music of Bitterroot, Kory Quinn and my cousin, Janis Carper and her honey, Cris Peterson. I also hula-hooped to the music with my new friend, Ryleigh, a gutsy first-grader who already is paddling her own canoe.
After a three-decade hiatus, I took up drumming again. Both Kirby and I had been drummers at our respective high schools, but I hadn't played since then. At Rhythm Traders, a really cool percussion store in Portland, we played many African djembe drums in our quest to find the perfect drum for me. love having a drum again! I I'd forgotten the joy that drumming brings me. Why had I stopped doing something that makes me happy?
Over the summer I've played my drum to accompany Kirby's guitar playing and singing in the garden at Wisteria Cottage, under a star-spattered sky in Eastern Oregon and then for a few nights around a campfire under a full moon, while surrounded by Kirby and other buckskin-clad primitive skills enthusiasts and musicians at the Echoes in Time gathering at Champoeg State Park.
Through the window at the peak of the ceiling in Wisteria Cottage, I've watched the moon progress through the sky many a summer night as I played my drum alone, finding a beat that's true to the joyful woman I've become.
I'm going to miss that inspiring view of the moon through that high window. But I'm looking forward to tapping out new rhythms as I explore the view awaiting me around the next bend.