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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Off the grid: A home is made from love

By Ammi Midstokke For The Spokesman-Review

Most of the biggest decisions of my life happen after a third cup of coffee or while my husband is driving. It’s dangerous to allow me that sort of headspace. If he’s busy watching for traffic, I am staring out the window at all the possibilities of the world – mountains to climb, bees I could keep and places we might live.

On this particular day, he was driving and I had a lot of coffee so I’d solved every problem from gun legislation to stain-resistant sofa textiles in the first few miles. So I started appreciating the landscape and proximity of my closest running buddies. As we wound our way through the hills, I blurted out, “I sure would like to live in this neighborhood.”

He should have given me the wheel right then. Maybe I would have been distracted by looking out for deer. Instead, I set my heart on a piece of land snuggled into the beloved trails and conservation area where I spend much of my free time.

That was in February when my firewood pile was dwindling, the snow had piled higher than my windows and I was chaining up to get home. I always want to move in February. Now it’s June and when I drive past the FOR SALE sign on my driveway, the tears well in my eyes. How could we ever leave this place?

Right now, everything is in bloom, lush from this year’s moisture. Everything but my garden, of course, which I have murdered as usual. Right now, the morning sun hits my bedroom windows just after the birds have woken me. When I crawl back into bed in the evening, the last hues of pink and purple are bleeding from the sky. The ponds are full, the frogs happy. The lilies are established and this year I’ve harvested at least seven asparagus.

I struggle to imagine a home more dreamy than this rocky hilltop we have loved and shaped over the years.

It served as sanctuary to my daughter and me as we healed the wounds of our broken family. The catastrophes and successes of the seasons taught us how capable we were and that we also have limits. It was the birthplace of the romance between Charlie and me (back when I just invited him over to help chop firewood or hang shelves). And then it became the foundation of our marriage as we stood on a granite slab to exchange our vows.

But adventure has a strange way of pulling on my soul. It is not that I am discontent or unhappy. It is rather a deep curiosity about the things I have not yet done, the places I have not yet been, the house I have not yet built. There are so many possibilities in this life. Some of us are determined to explore them all. This is why I cannot go into a Baskin-Robbins.

Now we live in a home we are mourning and the change is palpable.

Charlie has finally stopped trying to approach the Forbidden Circle of Greenery with power tools and an appetite for destruction. I’m less jumpy knowing my shrubberies are safe. We wipe the counters with a sort of delicate caress, stare longer at the views, notice the song of the birds.

As we fluff the pillows on our sofa for the next showing, we deliberately soak up each hour in this house, appreciating the small gifts it offers us. It has served our hearts and family so well. I don’t know what gifts the next adventure will bring, but I do know this: A home is made from love, and this we have in abundance.

Ammi Midstokke can be contacted at ammimarie@gmail.com

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