It was years ago now, we were leaving the cantina with bellies fully of beer and chicken fingers and heads full of dreams. This was our Kashmir, home, and we were leaving it again return to our lives down in the greater metroplex. We were trying to work up our escape velocity, figuring out how to make it work. The siren's song of the city was no longer our jam, and it hadn't been for a bit.
We took a different route out of town that time. The way that would become our way to and from the cantina from home the rest of the time it was open. A way we still use to get to the park and museum and for walks around town sometimes. It was there, along the row of houses that line Rue Maji, we beheld a small Victorian. This in and of itself might not have been remarkable, our Kashmir being a funky little mining town. However, it was the sign, which read for sale, that got our attention. I got out and grabbed a flier. The pricing was affordable.
"We could do this," Sabina whispered.
"If you're serious, I know a mortgage broker," I told her. You'd think I'd sprouted a second head that was quoting fire and brimstone scripture for the look she gave me.
A few days afterward, Sabina had arranged for the first showing at what would become the House of Owls and Bats. A day or so after that, I was speaking with my mother, a mortgage broker by trade. The monkey's paw blood money from my father's mother was arriving in the post and we were relentless. It took eight weeks from when we spotted the house, when I grabbed the flier, when Sabina observed it might just be doable, and we were taking possession. A little less than a year from when we came to the realization this funky little mountain township was our place in the world, we made it home, something, which was the subject of song and story for about the first year we lived up here.
My mother first got sick during those whirlwind days. She was teleconferenced in for the closing because the chemotherapy and radiation treatments had been that much of a beating. I had no idea how many bridges I would unintentionally burn, how many acquaintances I'd never see or speak to again in this mad dash for the mountains. How un-citifed we'd become within just a few weeks of the move. For me, having grown up in rural environments, I suppose I shouldn't have been so shocked, though it was interesting to watch the change in Sabina. In the heat of those moments, it hardly mattered, we were living our dream and woe betide the pigfucker that got in our way.
It was Sabina that pointed out the time of year to me, which was amusing since I'm the one who generally keeps track of things. I went back through my observations and found the exact date; two days after a Rodrigo y Gabriella concert-back when the shit was real!-we saw on Saint Valentine's. Another time, another life. So it goes.
We talk about a walkabout. Though not blustery, stronger breezes whip through our Sahel. The sky is color of turquoise. Even looking out the window, so many years and lifetimes later, I still get the and we fucking live here! moments. Something I cannot imagine fading away, and, if it did, I'd probably find myself trying to find out of bullets were edible. I would ask if it's possible to have a love affair with a particular landscape, but I've read John Muir and Edward Abbey, and that right there provides me with my answer.
"The mountains are calling and I must go..."-John Muir