I had fun coming up with these YURT reverse acronyms: Young Urban-Rural Tourist. Yes, Unless Really Tired (this was a close second to the final title). Yucky Underwear Rides Tightly. You’re an Uber Radical Teacher. I chose “You Understand Rare Treats” because of how much I have come to appreciate what many people take for granted.
These amenities aren’t rare to the masses, but they have been rare to us for the last couple of years. I have come to cherish my times with a few benign and otherwise not-so-exciting things: Dishwashers, hot water from a tap, flushing toilets, waking up in a warm room, cupboards that don’t require extensive Tetris skills to organize, house plants that survive for more than one year, washers and dryers, interior doors–this exciting list could go on!
As I write this post, I am counting down the days (not months or even weeks!) until we say goodbye to yurt life. It is a bittersweet time, full of excitement and nervous energy. I’ve said to myself many times over the last months, “I can’t wait until I can just _________ after we move to a new place!” Even with this excitement for the conveniences of a “normal” living situation, I really will miss the yurt and our sweet time in it.
What will I miss?
Being so close to my loved ones. All. The. Time. When we are home, we are together. When we move to our new place with rooms with doors, we will undoubtedly spend more time apart and alone. It’s the American way, right?
The Sounds. Yesterday, I heard a dog making a noise I had never heard in our neighborhood–a very earnest whining. I was worried it had gotten hit by a car or was otherwise injured. After a brief investigation it turned out that all was well. It was just a loud visiting dog with annoying habits. However, I never would have heard the foreign sound (or recognized that it wasn’t a normal neighborhood sound) if I hadn’t been in the thin-walled yurt, steeped in the sounds of our street for the last two years. There are so many other sounds that will be missed when a shingled, insulated roof is over our heads: rain drops, wind, snow slides, leaves dropping, howling from nearby dog teams, cat fights, even the annoying ATVs that zoom past at all hours.
Intimate connection with our resource use. We (by we I mean Evan, primarily) have hauled every drop of water we have used in the yurt and we have chopped and hauled every piece of wood that has burned to keep us warm. While we do have electricity that we aren’t as connected to, these other two have helped us really appreciate the resources that go into making us comfortable. Just as I’ve heard of those who have lived in deserts, on boats or in other resource limited areas, we will carry the conservation principles we’ve honed in on in the last few years into the places we will call home in the future.
Impermanence. As a bit of a neo-Buddhist, I’m a fan of the whole concept of impermanence. There is beauty in that which we know will not last forever (which is everything! It is all beautiful in its own way). Some things, especially standard homes, feel very permanent and stagnant. Where is the fluidity? the dynamism? The possibility? I know these are all possible and probable in standard homes, but living in a traditionally nomadic structure makes it impossible to escape the impermanence of it all. Very few things in this space are fully secured–not even the kitchen counter top!
The Location. We live in some of our best friends’ yard. We see our best friends nearly every day–how many people can do that? The community we live in is beautiful, supportive and adventurous. We live in the woods with mountains in the background. There are trails nearby that we can walk day after day and rarely ever see another person. We know the checkout people at the grocery store and wave at familiar cars on the street. This will take awhile to build up again in a new place.
The path to our front door. This one might sound silly, but I will miss it. it is a simple dirt path full of gnarly roots and holes dug by the dogs. It is where Ava has learned to walk and navigate tough terrain. We made it ourselves by walking it over and over, day after day. Over time it has become lined with some rocks that we’ve unearthed and a few decorative trail markers. Even with the steep sections and ruts, I can navigate it in the pitch black of night if I have to. I curse it some days when I’ve slipped and fallen, or when I have to make multiple trips to lug stuff from the car. Will we ever have a trail like this to our home again? One that isn’t paved or cobbled in some way?
Well, I’ve gone and done it–given myself that familiar knot in the back of my throat and made myself cry a bit. It’s funny how things like a gnarly, rooted, curse-worthy trail can tug at our heart strings.
I’ve moved way too many times since leaving my childhood home, but this is the first place that has really felt special, like it is ours. It will be hard to say goodbye, even if we are moving on to bigger and brighter things.
Like a dishwasher. My twenty-something year old self would be disappointed in how excited (for the record: I’m REALLY EXTRAORDINARILY EXCITED!!! On a scale of 1-10 I’m at 1,923,871,934) I am about having a dishwasher. C’est la vie.
To make light of our move, I’ve been focusing on all of the things I plan on doing with the freedom of living in a place with more conveniences. I’ve been calling them my “delusions,” because I expect (okay, okay, I totally know) that I won’t have any free time with two kids under two….
My hopeful delusions mostly include doing more artsy and crafty things like knitting, sewing, writing poetry, creating mosaics, learning how to quilt and doing toddler appropriate art with Ava. I’ve even thought of making paper to use for writing real snail mail letters to folks! Whoa. I’m going to call more friends and family regularly, cook tons of gourmet meals, and do yoga all the freaking time with all of the time I’m going to have! Of course, I’ll do all of this with an impeccably clean house and while spending lots of quality time with my family. I’ll be the envy of all of Pinterest. One can dream, right?
I’ll likely be writing my next post from a much different locale. It will be fun to report on how this Rural Farmgirl adapts to life in the Big City of Anchorage! The City Farmgirl seems to be making her way in the country, can I do the same?!
Until next time, Sending you peace and love from Alaska,
Alex, The Rural Farmgirl