It seems that when I finish anything to do with a dream ― whether the silent inner nod at completion of a small step or the sigh that accompanies sending a final manuscript off, a collection of other dreams lands in my lap, on my desk, on the shelf between the jungle of plants in the living room, anywhere that’s not fenced off. One step within a dream is enough to call another whole collection to join the fray.
How is it possible to remain such an innocent after so many years of these avalanches of dreams? To still find myself truly believing that *this* will be the dream I get to live straight through to what I envision today as its fruition? If you say that’s only possible for a blithering idiot, I’d almost agree. Not quite, though, as “blithering idiot” has never been my preferred self-image.
Last July I arrived in Mount Shasta to camp a while up at Bunny Flat and begin the recovery from breathing building renovation fumes at the office of a group of creative, bright, interesting, pleasant folks where I was privileged to be a contractor for a few months. A friend from Cleveland had arrived on the mountain before I did and snagged the same camp-site we’d enjoyed the year before.
Bunny Flat, if you’ve not been there, is worth a visit. For campers, it offers tall trees, fabulous day and night views of the upper reaches of Mt. Shasta, moon and stars that feel almost within arm’s reach, and other people who also love the energies that swirl. For hikers, Bunny Flat is a terrific starting point for hikes on the mountain. For anyone else, it’s still a beautiful close-up of some of the more glorious parts of my favorite mountain. There’s also a large, intriguing stump – home to friendly though skittish chipmunks — just a few feet up the hill from the information center parking lot.
It took about two heartbeats to feel again the pull to stay – not at Bunny Flat, but in the town of Mount Shasta, where I lived previously and still mean to retire. After a month on the mountain, sleeping in the back seat of my car as it was warmer than the tent during those cold nights, I moved into a lovely apartment owned by my former landlord, managed by a couple whose focus reflects that landlord’s focus on the people in their building.
I naively made plans ― a year or two with time to rest, time to write, time to organize the boxes of old stories that follow me wherever I go. In the spring, I’d go back up to Washington to visit friends and family. Then, back to the beautiful hot summer in Mount Shasta, in my cozy apartment, with my books and jungle and those old stories I fall back in love with every time I touch them.
Meanwhile, our building has been sold. My former landlord, her partners, and the long-time managers here focused on providing a lovely, safe, non-smoking building to be a true home for the people who live here. They succeeded well.
The new owner and his employees and representatives apparently have a different purpose. The man with whom I’ve had the most dealings exhibits a very flexible attitude toward truth and obeying Federal regulations about people’s personal information. Blech!
Plus the new owner is gung-ho to renovate the whole (already very nice, thank you) building to take advantage of tax credits for doing so. The plans, as explained to all of us, include 7 months of construction with tenants moved out of our apartments into transition apartments for 2 weeks or more, then back into our newly poisoned (my word, not theirs) apartments. Paint, carpet, linoleum or its equivalent, window glass, stoves, refrigerators, heating/air-conditioning units, cabinets, counters, light fixtures, bathroom fixtures, and it sounds as though our nice large tubs will be replaced with shower stalls. I’m sure I’ve missed some of the changes, but only one that’s major.
That one other major change – though we were told at the all-tenant meeting it might not happen – is to stucco over the wood panel exterior of the building.
I’m sure the contractors are happy for the work. I’m equally sure the new owner is happy for his tax credits. I haven’t heard any tenants who are happy about the upheaval or the potentially damaging effects on residents’ health.
I have given my notice. My lungs are not up for another round of renovation – or any other – poisons. The plants and computers and I, some of the books and some of the stories, plus my guitar will go house-sit for six months for a friend whose house is filled with and surrounded by lovely clean air.
After that? I don’t know for sure, but I feel the call to be in this town, so it’ll be time to hunt for another place to live here. Unless, of course, this is another opportunity for my dreams to collide with each other. For my plans to be wiped out by new dreams that show up. For me to practice being flexible.
I’ll keep you posted.