Living Life in the Mountains

The Big Plunge

Mike and I are at a unique place in our lives. When he soon leaves his current job to focus on our business Rocky Mountain Glow, we are free as two birds. I think of the closing scene in the movie Castaway when Chuck Nolan, having just freed himself from a desert island, is standing at a crossroads, with complete freedom to go any direction he chooses. This is where we are in our lives. It has never and may never happen again.

We have two broad-stroke choices: the safe, comfortable way, and the more risky and scary way.

Seth Godin recently wrote a blog comparing life to jumping off a high dive:

Diving boards

The leap at the swimming pool is obvious 

Ten steps up the ladder.

The wait at the end of the board.

The moment in between not-diving and diving.

The leap is clear. We can see it and we can feel it.

In day to day life, we have worked to eliminate that feeling. Organizations and marketers and friends work hard to have it happen gradually instead. An incremental, almost invisible creep along a slippery slope, until the next thing we know we’re in a rut, or bored, or ill.

We’ve constructed a life where we rarely leap (new job!) and most of the time, we coast or fade or increment our way forward.

It might be worth investing the effort into turning some of your decisions back into leaps.

Good advice, and Mike and I feel the urge to hold our nose, close our eyes, and jump into that beckoning water. That’s not to say it’s a blind leap, just as jumping off the high dive as a kid was not foolish. It’s safe, really. It just feels so dog-gone scary!

Our first “leap” is Mike leaving a good secure job and making our home business more of our livelihood. The second leap is leaving our beautiful home in the city of Colorado Springs to move…to the mountains of Colorado. We have always had a “hankerin” to have some land in the Rockies, now we have the freedom to do just that..if we choose to be in “leap” mode.

I told Mike before we went to look at properties that I wanted to experience that magical feeling that some places inspire in me. Water usually does that…a creek, a stream, even a lake. So we looked at a small home that sat right by the Poudre River in a little mountain village called Red Feather Lakes. You could hear the water from the deck, from open windows, and the master bedroom had a little patio from which the sparkling river was in clear view and the magical sound would put the occupants of that room to sleep at night.

But the magic quickly faded when we found out that this property did not have the usual well and septic tank of most mountain homes, but rather a cistern and some sort of waste vault that has to be dumped regularly. Good-bye magical house by the river! The search must continue.

We really liked the Red Feather Community, but after sleeping on it, it seemed a little too remote with harsh winters. We had to rule out that wonderful little village.

We had heard that there was a little mountain community up a canyon from Golden, CO. Golden is one of our favorite places in the world. Quaint and old-fashioned in some ways. But the biggest draw is the roaring Clear Creek stream right down the middle of town. Yes, it is magical.

So since Mike had to work, I took it upon myself to visit Golden all by my lonesome, and to explore this canyon full of mountain homes. We have a canyon by our house that leads to a mountain city called Woodland Park. But our canyon is two lanes on each side, and not terribly curvy. But this canyon! One lane on each side that seem too narrow, steep canyon rocks to the right and the left. And unlike our canyon, every once in a while there is a memorial sign at the side of the road, in memory of someone who died while driving the canyon! Lots of people live up there, but I was happy when I got to the top and turned around to get on safer ground. I just don’t think that’s how we want to travel on a regular basis.

So I felt a little woeful that we might not find our mountain home after all.

Our original goal was this: to sell our current home and to find something much less expensive to help financially while we adjust to our new situation. We wanted some land and were willing to down-size significantly to achieve our goal. Still we could not find exactly what we were looking for. And everything with land seemed to be snatched up fast.

So yesterday, I took a prayer walk and got quiet and listened for God’s wisdom. It came to my mind that I should go check out a listing I saw in a little town just beyond Woodland Park called Florissant. I thought, “No! Not that one. It’s a pre-built home and the pictures look dry and dusty.” Not exactly magical. But I kept feeling like I should just check it out. I invited Mike to come, so he left work early.

On the drive over, we noticed how beautiful everything looked. We have been exploring new areas, and this area is near home to us, but it looked so much more gorgeous than anything we saw elsewhere. And then as we drew near to the home that sits on four acres, I had this memory of Anne of Green gables exclaiming “Oh Mr, Cuthbert!!!” the first time she laid eyes on Prince Edward Island. I had that same feeling of breath-taking beauty as we drove down the gravel road to our destination.

Yes, the home itself is a step down from what we live in now, but still really nice. And there is a dry and dusty area right around the home, as I saw in the listing pictures, but there are also four acres of pines and aspen groves, and the ambiance of the place has its own magic, though there are no rivers or streams.

So to make a long story short, we have put a contract on this home! And I’m rather looking forward to making it as cute and homey as can be.

Following are a few pictures with comments:

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After a mountain drive on a two-lane but somehow spacious feeling road, we arrived at the entrance to the neighborhood. This bull greeted us, and we knew we were not in the city anymore.

 

 

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This is the turn into the subdivision. Of course, four acres is the smallest piece of property, but I suppose you could still call it a subdivision. Our street is Piute Circle, so there is definitely an Indian theme.

 

 

 

SONY DSCIt’s difficult to capture the awesomeness of the roads (some of them dirt roads) that lead to the house. This is a little glimpse of what it looks like. This is aspen country! And we make aspen products. Hmmmm….might be great to just walk out the door and find our standing dead aspen treasures needed for our work!

Oh, I know, it won’t be quite so magical when the snow is blowing sideways in the winter! But many winter days offer their own kind of magic in Colorado. And we’ve already decided that the house could use so much improvement that if we’re snowed in for two days, great! We’ll put in a floor or some other home adventure.

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This is one of the residents of the place, checking out the new neighbors, us. I’m sure there are more fierce animals that visit now and then, but actually, we got used to that in Colorado Springs where it wasn’t uncommon to see bears, coyotes, and an occasional bob cat in our yard. So at least we’re used to those kinds of guests.

 

 

SONY DSCThis is Mike in front of the house. There are several things that we intend to do with the house before we ever move in. But one thing that I will look forward to is getting rid of the ramp and building a front porch. Modular homes look kind of “straight.” A nice covered front porch will do wonders for our new abode.

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This is me in the back part of the house. Again, it’s hard to capture the beauty of four acres of pine and aspen trees, but let me tell you, I was enraptured by it! It brought tears to my eyes. The previous owners had horses and so there are fences all over the property. Those have to go! I have at least once asked Mike to play this song at my funeral: “Give me land, lots of land, neath the starry skies above. Don’t fence me in!”  Yes indeed, the fences have to go!

 

 

highdiveSo, like a kid on the high dive, we have butterflies in our stomach, and sometimes wonder if we should just go back and jump in the shallow end. We have a steady income and a nice familiar home. But the intrigue is too alluring to do that. So here we go!

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