I wrote the original of this several months ago but wanted to try again after reading the first 10 chapters of "Writing Tools" by Roy Peter Clark. It is an excellent book so far. I think that this version is much better in some ways, but fear that some of the excitement is lost. I might try again in a few months, but frankly I'm getting a bit sick of it now! I'm open for comments/criticism and suggestions!
I leaned against my car sipping a coffee while I listened to Nick, our builder, shout out last minute instructions to the shovel operator. I was parked at the top corner of our hayfield that morning in July of 1994, waiting for the action to begin. The scene lay before me like an impressionist's painting: a slight mist hung in the air softening the hard edges of the giant yellow shovel, and the sky matched the colour of the blue cornflowers that mingled with the tall grasses left standing after the recent cut of hay. I felt light headed with excitement and wished Carm was there.
The shovel raised its huge bucket into the air and crashed into the earth, gouging a wide swath through the grass. My eyes burnt with emotion. It was really going to happen. My lifetime dream of living in the country was coming true. I gulped some air and tried to dry my eyes as Nick strode up to the car. He smiled and leaned against the car next to me to watch the progress.
As I watched the shovel sculpt a place in the earth for our home, I thought back to when I was a little girl visiting my Aunt's farm and wishing for my own farm. How many blown out birthday candles and shooting stars were called upon to make this dream come true?
Carm was bombarded with real estate listings from the day we met. Sometimes I wore him down enough to go and look, but that didn't happen often, however, I was relentless in my quest for a place in the country. Early in the spring of 1993 I found a listing for 28 acres of undeveloped land - the fact that it partially flooded in the spring was inconsequential to me. I don't remember what sort of persuasion I used but he agreed to go for a drive.
We rolled to a stop on a one lane stone bridge that crowned a roaring creek - these were no quiet flood waters, this was a torrent of uncontrolled energy and it was magnificent. We drove up to the corner of the lot and turned into the field to get a better look and as we got out of the car we looked at each other with the sudden realization that we'd seen this land one summer several years previously when it was a green, pastoral paradise. We had fallen in love with it then and now had a chance for that verdant valley, with it's creek that meandered through rolling fields, and shallow river that edged the property, to become our own. We sped off in search of the real-estate office.
We were crestfallen when the agent told us there was already an offer on the property. She explained that if the current offer was rejected we'd have a few minutes to get ours presented, so we drafted a full price offer and went home to wait. I paced a hole in the carpet willing the phone to ring and when it did later in the evening I stood by Carm's side anxious for the news. When he nodded his head at me, my heart leapt. My dream was coming true.
We started designing our home as soon as the ink was dry. Every detail was taken into account. I knew I wanted to live in the light with lots of south facing windows, so we made that axis the longest. The house was designed for entertaining with a large central great room (which got larger and larger as time went by), and smaller bedrooms off to the side. I wanted the great room to dazzle with light so windows were used liberally. They capture the views to the east. They dominate the south wall. A west facing window scoops the late afternoon sun. Windows were shoe-horned wherever there was a smidgen of blank wall. Picture windows in the master bathroom flank the giant tub, bathing it in sunlight. The kitchen sink angles to align with the picture windows above it. I can stand at the sink and see the pond and barn. I walked through the 3D computer design countless times before I was happy with the alignment of each door and window, light switch and power outlet. I may have driven people crazy with my obsession with room dimensions.
My excitement rose every time I looked at the plans - my house in the country was soon to be and the thought of it was almost enough to make me swoon. Every chance we got we spent tramping the length and breadth of our new domain. In the winter we snowshoed, in the spring we planted thousands of trees along the fencelines, summer was time for picnics and campfires. If I could have lived there in a tent I would have. Within a year of signing we had hired Nick to be our builder. Selling our house was a pivotal step so it was important that we had a motivated agent; Wendy, Nick’s wife, filled that role. We cleaned and polished countless times as people came to see our modest home. The day we sold the house, Carm almost got heat stroke mowing the acre lawn, while I vacuumed and washed floors to mitigate the fact that we had 3 dogs, 2 cats and 10 parrots also living with us.
Wendy dropped by later in the day with an offer. The project was ‘a go’ and the race was on - 9 weeks till we had to move out of our Limoges home and into the new one. Nick had a challenge.
A few weeks after our house was sold I was leaning against my car with scene before me looking like an impressionist’s painting. Tears welled in my eyes as I watched the first swath of earth gouged by the shovel’s bucket reveal where the foundation of my dreams would sit.