After I get the call that the seller didn’t take my offer on the sunny south-facing condo I’d fallen in love with, I run errands for work – the office supply store, then to B for him to sign AP. I meet him in his restaurant before a tasting and he reminds me he supports me: in this job, in this community, in this world. As I leave I run into a board member who runs a cleaning company and the local DJ, who says, “I’m a MacGyver, I can fix anything… except relationships with women.” We agree it’s a challenging one and I walk back to my car, two sleepy black dogs in the backseat, the mountains stark white against bright blue sky.
I love even this, the nonsense of living in such close proximity to the people you work with. I read an article last week about not being able to bring your whole self to work — even if we don’t here, everyone knows it all, and the more I exist in it the more I think it makes sense.
I knew the condo was a long shot when I put in an offer, and I knew finding a job here was a long shot when I started my search from North Carolina, and I knew flying my dog here was risky, and I knew staying here for a while was a long shot, is a long shot, could be, always could be, a long shot. In my first year here, I wondered what specifically would push me out — the assholes who give me a hard time for doing good work, the old guard who want things to stay the same even if that means we never grow up, the lack of any sort of affordable housing, the snow that fell and fell and fell, amazing even those who have called Mammoth home for decades.
On Thursday we looked out the windows from the fire station before the housing meeting and Meghan joked don’t you love it when it snows sideways? The flags across the street were wrapped around the pole, the snow moving literally sideways – streaking across from west to east, tiny ice crystals pelting the cars and a few misplaced pedestrians. Inside the firehouse it was warm and quiet as these people, these humans who just like me want their lives to be here more.than.anything told their stories of old cabins without potable water and illegal rentals in garages. “What’s the breaking point?” the leader of the focus group asked wondering when people call it quits here, and all I can think is it depends on how much you love these mountains, how much you want them in your life, how committed you are to them weighing more than all else. From everywhere the disappointments happen – my bedroom, the street, my office, the backroom at the restaurant getting invoices signed – the mountains are visible. Giant, restful, absorbent.
Going into this week, I read my horoscope, which is a sign I’m struggling to find meaning in the string of moments that make these days. “Fighting the urge to wallow in regret and instead using that energy to see what you have yet to try in terms of your own healing.” I didn’t think the possibility of a home would heal. I didn’t think there was a void there. But it is deep, abiding, the truest of tiny wounds for me these days — my things from my last ‘home’ are still in the garage, never unpacked, never emerged, waiting for a place to make my nest in.
So I wait, again, back at this game of stepping into each condo and imagining my life there. With the one by Snowcreek it was children, with the sunny one it was me, mine, a space where I would only welcome the people I dearly want to be there.
E says let’s have girl time tonight and I remember nearly doubling over before last week’s family dinner, amazed with the heaviness of my love for these people, my pickle pack, my homemakers. There is no home space yet, but there are mountains, these goddamn wonderful perfect dreammaking peaks, there are people I adore that I get to see every week, there is a community that has welcomed me and said yes, we hope you stay and there is work to be done, goddamnit, and I’m not out yet. Assholes, old guard, housing crisis and 49 feet of snow – you have not won yet. I’m still here. Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m not going anywhere for a while.