Nine months ago we fled from our custom built, organic home to a mobile home. We were compelled to downsize in a major way in a major hurry. We managed to sell our environmentally compromised house , disclosing our less than reasonable neighbor to a family that needed a home as desperately as we needed to sell ours. It was a good bargain all around.
We bought a trailer in a mobile home park just north of town. We shrank back from 6 acres to a plot of land in a mobile home park with folks living on either side of us. Andy and Zach, and on the other side, Christina, Donte, Jullian, Abigail, and Holden. Christina works at the high school, Donte does a bit of everything skilled and Jullian is a senior this year and has had me as a substitute teacher in several of his classes. Andy is a cook and a humanitarian and a philosopher while Zach is a janitor and a loving father and a kind neighbor. We feel right at home. We feel safe. Our trailer is a refuge.
The 461 fire that started June 1 was bad. Real bad. There were days I swear you’d get in your car to drive to work and the smoke was so thick you could not see the cliffs on either side of you. The visibility was reduced to a 1/4 mile tops. The wife has asthma bad now too – a direct result of the malignancy that grew into a maelstrom of hate aimed straight at Karen and me.
We were lucky – we are privileged. Karen’s family owns an old mobile home parked on prime Pine river frontage. And it is a refuge. We all need refuges and sanctuaries where we can go and maybe encounter the holy or the numinous or what William James simply called “The More,” or encounter ourselves in another person, or see ourselves with clarity and a loving heart or realizing that encountering self and encountering the holy might have similarities.
I was blessed by the song of the river as I first stood upon its banks and realized again in a flash lasting long enough to get the message. I am – we are all deeply interconnected with nature – animal and plant – and wilderness. With rivers and puddles with thunder clouds and snow silently falling. How are we not intimately connected with the life that surrounds us? With trees, scrub oaks, grasses, briars, bushes, meadows, mountains, rivers, oceans, clouds, sky? What arrogance it seemed for a moment to think that somehow I am separate from a tree?
Every night since the smoke went away the wife and I take a walk around the trailer park, and we’ve run into Ninja Turtle man and tonight we were passed by a young Freddy Krueger type kid of about 7 and this occurred over by Trailer #14 where the bake sale was taking place. I was hoping for cornbread but all they had was muffins. “What’s the bake sale for,” I asked the ninja turtle who just looked at his older sister as though helplessly lost, who said “for school supplies – we are going to Albuquerque for school supplies.” I bought 4 25 cent muffins and gave them 5 bucks and told them I didn’t want any change.
They were thrilled. So was I.
Life in a trailer park, I think, has become our next teacher on this path, as we walk each other home.