The deciding to go was easy and anticlimatic.
I said, "I don't know if I can do this temporary life for a whole year more."
He said, "I know."
I said, off-the-cuff. "Mom said we should just travel the world." From there it was just a matter of crunching the numbers, which, after crunched, were in favor of the travel, not the temporary. It made me wonder how often we short-change ourselves on experiences simply because we think they're too out-of-reach without actually checking to see if they are.
But the deciding to decide to go was driven by the actual out-of-reach thing. The deciding to decide to go all started with an A-Frame in the woods. If I'd had a dream about a house and about what life from inside said house would look like, and the dream had taken on physical form, it was this A-Frame. Retrospectively, it was not because life for us could have taken on any plausible, functional meaning in such a space; but simply because at that time in our lives, I needed a little bit of magic.
And I needed something that looked totally different from our life in Denver. Or life in New York. Or life in Denver before that. I needed a new dream--like a dream house.
You had to climb to nearly 9,000 feet to get to it, up over dirt switchbacks, which, admittedly, were the first of the red flags. But, oh, once you got there and could peek through the perfectly spaced aspen trees to spot the green metal roof; once you could stand at the top of the drive and hear the brook actually babbling through the property; once you experienced that light in the great room, or stood at the kitchen sink with the perfect view of the playhouse, or walked over the squeaky parquet floors in the dining room, or climbed the custom spiral staircase; well, the red flags seem less like warnings and more like charm. We stood on the front porch and watched a duck land in the pond beneath our feet, gliding silently over the dark waters. It was, quite honestly, as different from New York as a place could be. So, it was the new dream.
The tricky thing about dreams is the waking, and how you bridge the gap between the dream space and reality. What can such a thing mean in actual life and how can it be described in earthly language? What seems so natural and normal and essential in a dream, makes no sense in our common dimensions. Dreams become nonsensical. And whether or not an A-Frame at 9,000 feet is nonsensical for a busy family of four, there were enough legitimate obstacles on this side of reality anyway--briefly: it was too soon to buy a house. Not for lack of trying, mind you; but in the middle of trying, it was scooped up by someone else. Like when the alarm is buzzing and you're trying to recall where your mind just was, we were left trying to clutch the remaining fragments of an idea that suddenly became someone else's dream.
It was necessary, you see? The imagining of another life. Sometimes you have to begin in the dreamworld to refocus your reality. We get caught in the little ruts of what is normal and right, even though there are other realistic versions of life, and certainly no such thing as normal and right. So maybe life on top of a mountain wasn't where I needed to be in the physical sense, but I'd allowed my mind--and my heart--to be carried away on the tails of those dreams into something entirely new.
When the time came to decide to go, I was ripe. In a sense, before we gave up the lease, my heart already felt homeless because we'd already lost what I thought was to be our home. The decision to decide had already been made for me, and all that was left to do was to say "yes".
Now we have a home in the hills, one that is so much better suited to our life; but I often think about that A-Frame, tucked in between the silvery aspens and the freezing mountain stream. It's like the marker at the start of a map, with a sign in the yard that said, "You are here..." But it really was only "You could be here;" and then we would have been only there, all alone on top of a snowy peak; and instead we followed the path forward, which ended up winding all over the world on our way to home.