When I was a kid, I used to daydream about running away and making a home for myself. Not in any permanent way, I loved my family. I just enjoyed the idea of making a home for myself away from everyone and everything. Like a treehouse in the backyard I could visit but still be close to home. That would have been perfect, but we moved too often to set up a treehouse. I’m not complaining about the moves. I learned the blessings of impermanence at a young age. Moving often was great practice for accepting change and letting go of the old, to make way for the new.
I got in the habit of daydreaming about homes in unusual places. Driving by an underpass, I would imagine a makeshift home with a sleeping bag. I imagined living in one of those huge cylindrical cement tubes out by the railroad tracks. I pictured mattresses, cushions, and curtains to keep out the rain. Lest you think I only fantasized about the hobo life, I thought of real homes, too. I’d picture myself living in a round house on the beach, sitting atop stilts, like the homes in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where my family used to vacation. Wide, open spaces with minimal furniture. Windows open with only the sound of the ocean and the wind to keep me company. These images comforted me. I lured myself to sleep many, many nights decorating these makeshift homes.
As parents, we have very few places to claim as our own. The living room becomes cluttered with a baby swing and toys; the kitchen holds the high chair; the office is also the playroom; and in my house, the music room is also home to the washer and dryer. My sister-in-law recently blogged about finding solace in what she calls the bathroom fortress. That 10-minute shower is sometimes the only opportunity to clear our heads, plan our days, or just break down and cry without the kids hearing.
Lately, my daydreams are of office spaces, where I can peacefully write, blog and play music. Working from home with small kids is full of interruptions, and now we’ve added a cat to the mix, who loves to walk across my laptop keyboard as I’m typing. Part of my own meditation is to accept the interruptions, but it’s not easy. So, I daydream.
I dream about treehouses and trailers, yurts and mud houses, with nothing but a desk, futon, laptop, notebook, some books, two guitars, a drum set, and my cellphone (because I can’t relax if I can’t communicate with my kids). And, I imagine them to be in my own backyard because I need the modern comforts of electricity and cellphone reception. And because I don’t want to run away from it all. I wouldn’t last two days in total isolation. I need people around me. That’s why I love living in East Atlanta, where people spend as much time outside as they do in. And as much as my kids running in circles around me while I type can be a giant pain in the ass, I would miss that too after even a few hours of peace.
Trailer images are from the El Cosmico lodges in Marfa, Texas.