The light is magical. Our walks are getting browner and crunchier from the oak leaves underfoot. Most of the mums are still glowing brilliant purple, pink, yellow, and red, though some are already fading. The days are noticeably shorter. It’s fall.
But it’s also still fucking hot.
It’s a mid-day heat I’ve come to expect from July, when I am able to handle it with some grace; but today is the first of November, and the sun has not been autumn-soft, it’s summer-hard, and I don’t like it. I don’t like it because I’m ready to get some relief from the heat—get some crummy, rainy, less-beautiful days so I can veg out a little.
And I don’t like it because, in the past several years, the feeling of heat makes me anxious. My body has made the link between my sweaty back and how our lifestyles are burning up the planet. I feel climate change in my sun-smacked skin, and it scares me, but it also incites me to choose anew. And it always comes back to simplifying, staying local, sharing, being more communal, and figuring out how we can do more of those things.
Knowing that we are working toward living in a Tiny House with a tiny energy draw where we can’t have too much stuff getting between us and what we want to do is extremely motivating. But on the way to simplifying, sometimes things get more congested and complex, and we’re thrown out of alignment with our goals and values.
Because of my eagerness to make more money to save for our house, a few months ago I got a part-time job that did not fit me. It was like trying to squeeze my size-ten foot into a size-five shoe. There was nothing inherently wrong with either my foot or the shoe; it just wasn’t a good fit. And it hurt. Making the decision to leave that job has been a huge relief and has freed up a lot of energy. I got over a cold I’d carried for eight weeks. I got my libido back. (Hello!) I feel more self-confident, creative, and relaxed. I’m back on track.
In addition to working a lot to save money, a big Tiny House step of the moment still consists of preparing to leave our current home and move to a small rental near the building site. For my part, that includes dismantling gardens. On Halloween, friends came to “ungarden” with me. They brought shovels and buckets and took home trucks full of native wildflowers with friendly names such as shining blue star, brown-eyed susan, joe pye weed, and garden phlox; medicinal herbs like valerian, mugwort, anise hyssop, sage, bee balm, and mint; and colorful, seasonal perennials: rose campion, foxglove, and those gorgeous, blooming mums. The digging and potting will likely continue through the winter as I decide what I want to propagate for spring plant sales and what I want to give away. I don’t feel any sadness about seeing things go. I feel freer and lighter; I feel my life opening up and transforming.
Meanwhile, Donovan is accruing heaps of experience in air-sealing houses for maximum efficiency, and he’s also researching natural clay paints and photovoltaic systems to harness that hot-ass sun. The sustainability skills he’s bringing to his traditional electrical jobs are making his work more engaging and enjoyable for him, and they’re also preparing him to build our own high-performance house.
We are also gathering photos of Tiny House offices, kitchens, exteriors, and wall colors we like. In the evening, we sip homegrown herbal tea and read from either our how-to-get-organized book or from a collection of stories by Tiny Housers. So many of our daily activities are directly or indirectly related toward The Big Tiny (to steal from Dee Williams).
So it’s not hot, but fall is truly here, with its stirring winds and memory-ghosts. I remembered today how six months ago I thought, Everything needs to change. I longed for a real and all-encompassing shift in my life, and (as usual), I wanted it to happen right away. Thankfully, my partner is a slow and steady man with whom things rarely change quickly. Together we fashioned a plan to reach our financial goals—which will aid us to create a sustainable community, work at a saner pace, and live with a more positive impact on our environment. We’re not going anywhere fast, but we’re definitely moving forward toward our Tiny House dream.