The Nature of Perspective

We are blessed with the most kind, generous neighbors here. They’ve welcomed us in with offerings of all sorts– moral support, most invaluably– including history and context of the area and its people. Those we’ve met have driven by the place for decades, and all have deeply lamented the recent clear-cut of the long-preserved forest. Part of that forestland is ours.

It’s not contrived optimism to say that I see it differently. Of course I wish the forest were intact. I can imagine, partly by exploring neighboring woodlands, the old-growth trees and native fauna. I can envision the cool dampness, the moss and myriad mushrooms. I know that it was majestic.

But: I consider our perspective a unique boon in that what we see now is not only an incredible improvement on the gnarled hillside we met last summer; it’s an awakening. The emerging vegetation would not have been part of the forest floor. We get to enjoy a different, ever-expanding beauty.

The enmeshed branches of too-small cut timber are increasingly consumed by vine maples, wild cherry, and hazelnut trees. The deer trails through berry brambles– which will soon yield abundant delicious fruit– are lined with heady flowering clover and pineapple weed. The meadows are strewn with daisies, red clover, sky-blue forget-me-nots, and innumerable other wildflowers.

There are unfurling ferns, columbine, and more wild food than I could list, but much of which we’ve been collecting, eating, and cooking with daily. Most of the plants, in fact, are edible, from the wild strawberries to the thistles.

The ugly sporadic burn piles host the most coveted of fungi.

This story would be a different one if the forest were still here. It would be someone else’s story that we would continue; this one is all our own. Ours is a story of regrowth.

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The Year In A Word

If there were a word to represent 2014, for us it would be change. I’m hardly the person whose shoes I wore in January, and as we wind down toward the holidays, looking back on the year and forward to the next, I could not feel more optimistic or joyful.

The thematic transitioning of 2014 has not yet concluded: in a few days, after warm celebration and feasting and hot toddies at my mom’s, we’ll be standing in our new home in Oregon.

This first leg of the move will be for the essentials. We’ll install appliances, stretch fencing wire, find new homes for plates and towels. I’m determined to dig one small patch of garden to tuck some garlic away for overwintering.

Isis of the wonderful Little Mountain Haven writes about her New Year intention in a word. This year hers was growth, which I must borrow because it perfectly represents our coming year. We will be growing our homestead, adding more animals and projects. We’ll be growing our own food to the greatest possible extent. We’ll be growing our hopes and goals, growing our experiences. We’ll begin thinking about growing our family.

As we embark on this journey, I’ll keep the intention of growth near to my heart. The work will be hard and good. We’ll have triumphs and setbacks and the help of family and friends.

Since I’m not sure how frequently we will have internet access during our travels, I’ll be reflecting on the year with some prior stories, recipes and photos. I look forward to returning with much to tell of the coming chapter on the new homestead.

Do you have a word that encapsulates your past year or an intention for the next?