Cabin Fever Part Two: Stepping Stones

Cabin Fever still has a firm grip on my heart and my imagination and I really don’t think that’s such a bad thing- dreams are a wonderful gift. There has been a slight shift in my thinking about it all, though, and a welcome one at that. I’ve talked and dreamed for countless hours with my closest friends (thank you Darla, Bev, Diane, Carol, Lisa, Nancy, Kathy, and Tess!) and had deep and meaningful, heartfelt, discussions with Dan about our dreams for the future. I have zero doubt that my…our (damn, it feels so good to know that!) dream is going to happen in time. Understanding the why’s of it all makes the dream seem even more tangible. Sunporch peace…

When we first returned home from our anniversary trip to the Nantahala Gorge of western North Carolina, I couldn’t stop obsessing about the historic cabin that had just been listed for sale at the Nantahala Village, the place we’ve stayed at most every year since we were married on our special waterfall on the upper Nantahala River. The thought of having a real piece of the peace I feel close to this river was overpowering; I felt that I could make it through the increasing stress of my everyday life if I knew that periodically I could escape to my mountain and river retreat. I even came home and culled through my jewelry box, desperately hoping to find enough gold to put toward a cabin down payment…I had flashbacks to my childhood when my mom would scour the house for something to sell to pay an impending bill. She gave up so many of her treasures over the years. Cabin Fever, exhibit 1

The road to whatever this realization is was paved by doubt and not just a little fear of the unknown. Why do you think you deserve a mountain retreat? How can you afford it? Think of all the things that could go wrong! God, that nagging voice of fear gets so old.Mountain dawg…

As I was getting ready to head into the office the day after our trip, Dan opened up about it all, saying that he wanted me to pursue my dreams, but that those dreams also needed to be rooted in reality (he is so good for me). We can’t afford to purchase a cabin right now, no matter how humble; we’re not wealthy people and currently all of our resources are being channeled into improvements at Chez Gainey, our wonderful almost-century-old Southside home. I get that- we have to take care of our primary investment first. Also, maybe we should wait until we could find the A-frame cabin that we’d both love. Reality can crush a girl’s dreams.Home…

I headed into work that morning feeling like someone had stuck a pin in my dream balloon. I had fixated on the tiny stone cabin in a way I hadn’t since falling in love with ‘Blue House’, my first home in Birmingham that had helped me to transition from an old life to a new and happier one. I couldn’t reason with myself, only seeing the positives of living in the beautiful mountain community and not the many less attractive aspects of that particular piece of property. I felt like John Belushi in The Blues Brothers, “We’re on a mission from God.”

At the office, I reached into my computer bag to pull out my calendar and felt something strange at the bottom. I put the calendar on my desk and reached back into the bag, pulling out a stone…a stone from our special waterfall on the upper Nantahala River from the spot where we released my mother’s ashes. Goosebumps covered my body and I felt stunned; I had not taken this bag to North Carolina and had no memory of how the stone ended up in my work bag. I’m a huge believer in signs, having received far too many since my mother passed to doubt them. I don’t pretend to always understand the signs, but I do my best to be open to them. Finding a old marble in our yard feels like a little hello from Heaven- Mom collected them.

What could it mean? Maybe Mom was telling me not to give up hope? Maybe it meant that I didn’t need a cabin to find the peace of the Nantahala? All I know is that it was symbolic of something important. Even writing about it this morning still brings goosebumps to my skin. I continued to research properties, continued to dream, sending Dan the special cabins that I found, looking at Pinterest for ideas. My friend Bev told me that to manifest your dreams you had to put the dream out there and proactively work toward it- otherwise it would just remain a dream.

When I got home from work yesterday, Dan and I headed out to run several errands. At our first stop, Dan turned to me and said, I want to share something with you, and I hope you will like this idea. He took my hand and placed a small bag in my palm- the gold from my jewelry box. My husband, a man with one of the kindest hearts I know, shared his idea; I want to take the money from this gold and open a special savings account called ‘The Cabin Account’, putting any gig money, lesson money- anything extra- into it to save for our dream of buying a cabin. I burst into tears. This man holds my heart.

And so on Monday we will go to our bank and open the special account, manifesting our cabin dream through a realistic plan, finding the place that speaks to both of us when the time is right. I can already see it, I can feel the peace and the joy, I can feel the Nantahala River coursing through my veins. My determination and excitement only continue to grow- along with my love for a life partner who believes in me, supports me, and dreams right along with me.

From poet, Mary Oliver…


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