Seven years ago yesterday I closed the deal on my little house here in Monte Vista, Colorado and I moved in seven years ago today. Well, I KIND of moved in. Lily T. Wolf, Dusty and Mindy T. Dogs and I drove down from the cabin in South Fork where we’d stayed for a month while I found a house. I bought the sofa with the house, so when we walked in, the house wasn’t totally empty.
The dogs liked it right off. They were happy to have their own yard. I immediately saw two necessities; a lamp for the living room and a toaster oven. Yeah, I had brand new appliances (including the cheap fragile stove I’ve written about at noisome length here) but what I needed was a toaster oven and food. I took my first drive to Alamosa as a home owner and went to Walmart. I didn’t know where anything was yet. I got my lamp and my toaster oven, the box of which sufficed as a little table until my furniture arrived. I’d hooked up Internet. One of the treasures I’d driven over the mountains with was one of my grandmother’s quilts. I figured Mindy and I would sleep on the sofa that night with my down parka as a pillow.
There was a little rug in the house and Lily — my sixteen year old Siberian husky — found it quickly. When the floor heater kicked on — be still my heart! — I moved the little rug to a spot where Lily would be warm. I’d lived the previous 11 years with a wood stove which was great, but it did involve going outside and bringing in wood. Suddenly I had a furnace that responded to its own imperatives to warm the room. I still love that thing.
It was an enormous adventure, driving three big dogs across the desert and over the mountains to a town I’d only seen once in which I didn’t know anyone, but it was also wonderful. For some reason I have not driven back over Wolf Creek Pass. I don’t know why, but I think that a little compartment in my brain says to stay on THIS side or I’ll have to do all of that again!
All three of my dauntless comrades have died. Mindy was probably 10, Dusty was 9, and Lily was 16 when we made that trip. All of them loved it here. Lily even got to experience ONE legit Colorado snow storm. She stayed outside walking, blind and aimless, in the snow until I went out and brought her in before she exhausted herself. She was so happy. Mindy? Mindy was a little Buddha at peace anywhere she went with the magical power to make everyone she met feel better. Dusty — one of the world’s most anxious and scary barky dogs, calmed down and embraced his friendly, exuberant, sweet nature. He knew he didn’t have anything to be afraid of and made friends. From the experience of that move, I learned how tightly humans and dogs can bond. For the first five months I lived here, I didn’t really talk to anyone. That changed, and all three dogs welcomed friends to our house and Mindy became the best friend of Casey, an autistic man who used to walk to the Dairy Queen every day and would stop to visit her in the front yard.
The euphoria of finding home has never gone away. Yesterday, after I got my flu shot, Teddy Bear T. Dog and I went out to the Refuge to watch raptors, hope for cranes, greet tourists and savor the beauty of Heaven.
Footnote: Not sure if you would like to read more Chinese lit./Pearl Buck stuff. Please let me know. I’m still typing it up and I think I’ve figured out where 36 year old Martha was going with it. I’ve also realized why she stopped. After hoping all her life for a dog of her own that she could keep, she got a dog — Truffle! — and discovered Mission Trails Regional Park. ❤