October 31, 2016
I guess I was a little negligent about making blog entries over this past summer. I think I have just been too busy relaxing and enjoying my tiny house. After 2 ½ years of hard labor building the house and making nearly 100 blog entries, it has been really nice to spend a few months just “being” instead of “doing.”
We have probably stayed out at the tiny house maybe 10 or so times since we first moved it out to our property at the end of June. Each one of those trips has been amazingly enjoyable, but the most recent one was particularly notable: notable enough that I thought it might be worth another blog entry. You see, something different happened on this past trip, something that has never happened during any prior visit to our tiny house. This past trip, it rained. And as much as you might think the rain might ruin a trip to the wilderness, the tiny house somehow turned that rain into magic instead.
That’s not to say that the rain didn’t add a little bit of adventure to the weekend. On Saturday morning, we got everything packed up to go out to the tiny house and then for some reason I can’t entirely explain, I decided I needed to ride my bike over the hill instead of getting in the car. That turned out to not be my best decision or my favorite activity of the weekend. The weather report only showed a 15% chance of rain on Saturday (the bigger chance of rain was on Sunday), but that didn’t stop me from getting wet. It didn’t actually rain on me. The sky only spit at me lightly. However, the streets were wet which always leads to road splat and skunk stripes when riding a bike. Also, once I got into the hills, the trees were raining on me and once I got high enough, the cloud I was riding through added a swirl of thick mist to the moisture mishmash around me. By the time I got over the hill, my bike was a mess and I was fairly damp. It was also a tougher ride that I was expecting. After all the tandem riding we have done over the past month or two (some rides over 100 miles long), I thought a 30 mile ride on my single bike would be easy, but it wasn’t. I went up and over Highway 9 and felt like the whole climb was just kind of unpleasant. I never felt comfortable and it never felt easy. By the time Sheila met me in downtown Boulder Creek, I was uninterested in riding the last 3 miles to the tiny house and threw my dirty bike on the rack and my soggy body in the car.
I thought the rest of the trip to the tiny house in the car would be a piece of cake, but it turned out that even the car was affected by the weather. Specifically, the car was affected by the mud on the road into the tiny house that had been created by the weather. Try as we might, we were never able to get our little Prius up the last hill into the property. The wheels on our car just kept slipping out. I even took a pretty good run at it. I backed up the hill on the main dirt road and then came down, around the corner and up our little lane with pretty good speed, but I still couldn’t make it. It was surprisingly reminiscent of our attempts to get the tiny house up that very same lane at the beginning of the summer. Not having a dump truck available to help us this weekend, we finally gave up and left our car parked at the beginning of the lane. That meant we would have to make several trips to hike in all of our supplies, including the big cooler we had brought.
I can’t say I was totally excited about the prospect of doing all of that manual labor after having just ridden 30 miles in the wet, but in the end, it turned out to not be all that bad. Once I carried the first load in and saw the tiny house sitting on our property, my mood improved dramatically. With all the rain we have been getting over the past few weeks, everything was starting to turn green. The grass was growing and the clover was coming up. The leaves are also changing color with the arrival of fall. I can’t remember ever seeing the tiny house surrounded by so much color. It was beautiful. It was hard not to look at luscious landscape around my house without forgetting about anything else that was bothering me.
What really made me feel good, however, was getting to finally take off my damp bike shorts and take a hot shower. I still have no good comparison for the feeling of being able to take a hot shower in the middle of the woods in a bathroom I built myself inside a tiny house I built myself. It’s quite wonderful in a way that’s really not like anything else. After taking my splendid shower, we made some tuna fish sandwiches and then relaxed a bit before our next activity of the weekend: the arrival of some guests to our tiny house at about 2:00 PM.
Our guests were friends from National Youth Science Camp, a particularly special place in West Virginia that Sheila attended in high school and volunteered at in college. Sheila has spent the last couple of months planning a California reunion for NYSC. The main part of the reunion was on Sunday afternoon, but we also invited people to join us out at the property on Saturday and three people actually made it, including two former Directors, Andy and Paul, along with a Santa Cruz mountains local named Mark who lives just up the hill on Summit Road. I always enjoy having people out of the property and this visit was especially pleasant. We took our guests on a walk down to the creek and over to the one old-growth redwood left on the property. After that, we made a campfire and barbecued hamburgers, sausages and potatoes which we served with salad and homemade apple pie. Unfortunately, although the wood in our outdoor pile was dry enough to burn, it was a little bit too wet to generate enough heat to really cook over, so we ended up cooking everything on the barbecue grill instead. But that didn’t make the meal any less enjoyable. We all sat around eating, drinking, talking and enjoying the campfire until the sun went down and our guests felt like it was time to drive back to civilization for the night.
On Sunday morning, Sheila and I slept in until about 7:00 AM and then made blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Eating blueberry pancakes in my own tiny house was about as delightful as it sounds. However, the blueberry pancakes weren’t even the best part of the morning. The best part of the morning was that shortly after we finished our pancakes, it started to really rain. If we had spent the night at the property a couple of years ago and it started to rain, it would certainly have ruined our weekend. However, watching the rain from inside our warm and dry tiny house at exactly the opposite effect, making our weekend that much more special. The rain also allowed me to do something I have been wanting to do everything since I finished building the porch on the tiny house. It allowed me to sit outside on the porch and just watch the rain. Usually, rain in the wilderness inspires a person to “do” something to escape it. However, this weekend, rain in the wilderness inspired me to simply “be” in the rain without “doing” anything. Sheila and I set up two camp chairs on the porch and sat across from each other, just watching and listening to the rain. My favorite memory of that was leaning my head way back and resting it on the railing behind me so I could watch the rain come down from the sky around the edges of the porch roof. From that position, I could see the rain falling, but none of it actually fell on my head. It was wonderful.
After sitting on the porch for a while, I went back inside and curled up on the bench in the great room to read a book. While I was doing that, I looked up at Sheila, who was curled up in the loft and told her that being in the tiny house just wasn’t getting old. I really thought it would. I thought after a few weeks of staying at the tiny house, it wouldn’t be that special anymore, but I was wrong. Every weekend we go there is special and wonderful and I don’t even think I can explain why. I can take a shower at home, make pancakes at home, watch the rain at home and curl up on the couch and read a book at home, but somehow, all of those things are three times more enjoyable to do at the tiny house. I don’t fully understand it, but that doesn’t keep me from loving it. Something about that tiny house is magic. It somehow turns normal daily activities and chores into moments to savor, enjoy and remember. It wakes me up, makes me pay attention and brings me into the moment unlike anything else I have ever experienced.