Note from Adrian: This is another guest post, as I'm still going crazy with the start of my Master's program. Today's post comes from Andi Cumbo. Be sure to thank her for her contribution!
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I saw the picture, and I knew. I didn’t even have to blow it up from a thumbnail to see it – this was my farmhouse.
I called the realtor and saw it that day. By the next day, I had put in an offer. And just three weeks ago, the farmhouse and its ten acres became mine.
This house, this land – this is my dream.
I’ve cultivated this dream for 15 years, imagining a place where I could grow my own food – a huge vegetable garden where I’d plant lots of tomatoes for sauce that I’d perfect over years. A place where I could raise animals – not for meat, but for fiber – alpacas and maybe angora rabbits - and where goats can frolic, not to mention clean up the underbrush. A place where the people I love – musicians and writers, in particular – can come to relax and rejuvenate.
My farm, I call it. Qol Dumamah DuQah – the transliteration for the Hebrew phrase God’s Whisper, that voice that speaks so quietly to Elijah in the cave.
The farmhouse is 728 square feet in total and rests on a rise that shows me the mountains of the Blue Ridge in all their weathered beauty. Up the hill, one day soon, I will build a timber frame house with a huge living room centered on a huge fireplace. The large deck will open onto these mountains. Then, my father will take over the farmhouse, and people will stay in my guest rooms. Dad and I will build a rustic log cabin, and someone seeking to hermit away a bit can come to rest there.
My chickens Rusty and Ruby will start our flock, and Meander the bloodhound mix will be the porch dog. Pygmy goats will prance by with alpacas and their handlers, the Great Pyrenees I will adopt.
I will carve an amphitheater into the hillside so people can play music or read their work. We will drink local scuppernong cider and eat that sauce I’ve perfected poured straight over homemade bread.
On quiet nights, I will sit on the porch with my legs tucked under an afghan. I will read; I will write; I will pray; I will dream.
It is so easy to put off our dreams, to say we’ll do them when we have paid off the new carpet or when the kids go to school or when we have enough money. But what if we never get the carpet paid for, what if the kids never leave home, what if the money never comes?
It’s easy to put off our dreams until the time is “right,” but maybe our definition of the right time isn’t, well, quite right. It seems to me that sometimes what dreams need is risk – sometimes big, hairy risk. After all, tiny, tame choices don’t really get us that far.
Right now, I’m still in the process of building up my income as a writer – another risk I took about 3 years ago when I quit full-time college teaching – and in the final stages of editing my first book. This is not the “ideal” time to be buying property. Yet still, the place was available now. I could have played it safe and bet that another place would come when I was more “ready,” but I’m a firm believer that the regrets for things you do are so much easier to bear for the things you don’t do. And right now, I have no regrets of any kind.
I do have fatigue, and the new knowledge that stink bugs live in electric outlets. I have the story of the time a mouse ran over my hand, and a great deal of information about how to remove the smell of cat urine from hardwood – but regrets – not a one.
I’m not sure dreams are things built on practicality. I think they’re built on pillars that seem like they might not hold but can only be tested with wait, like the stones that hold up a one hundred year old farmhouse in the Blue Ridge. At least, that’s what holds up mine.
What life do you dream into?
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Andi Cumbo is a writer, editor, and writing teacher who is finishing up her book You Will Not Be Forgotten about the people who were enslaved on the former plantation where she was raised. When she is not removing old carpet or training her new puppy Meander, she blogs daily at andilit.com. You can also follow her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/andilit) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/andilitwriter).