Since the East Troublesome Fire, I can’t help but ask myself one question. What makes a house a home? Before defining a home, I first had to go back to dissect what made our ranch a home. Inevitably leading to the question, can a home be replaced?
Home to me is a space in which people (family/friends) intentionally gather in hopes to refine upon its’ entirety over time. Therefore, a home is something that takes more than one person as well as the investment of each individual’s time, effort, and capacity. By putting the home into order, renovated requiring only maintenance and refinement, hereby allows the reallocation of each individual’s capacity elsewhere. That freed capacity being applied to further improve upon the individuals through starting, fixing, or refining some other aspect of their lives. Full circle, bringing more purpose and meaning to the home and everyone that is a part of it.
We bought the property around 2016 after searching for 2 years. Was the property the epitome of what we were looking for? No, but it was a good landing spot after a long hard search. We scouted far and wide trying to find the perfectly priced and laid out property. After coming to the realization that no such thing existed, we finally decided on a property that was workable for all involved.
In order to purchase our dream property that meant we had to take on some major risk financially. This also led to the fact that we didn’t have much money to tackle the daunting feat of renovation ahead of us. Said in another way, lots of strenuous manual labor and endless hours working on top of work.
The property consisted of a beautiful log house big enough for our whole family and a few guests. It had a few pastures fenced that adjoined to a simple, small barn. There also was a decent-sized shed to put hay in or other large equipment. We knew when we bought the property everything was reasonably maintained, but definitely needed a lot of work to bring back to life.
The starting place was to try to get the property into a management phase. For example, the log home needed to be stained and sealed. The chinking between the logs needed some serious touching up. The massive deck needed to be replaced. The whole interior of the house needed to be updated. The barn needed to be entirely cleared of gathering junk from years past. The fence lines needed to be reestablished and added on before horses could be safely turned out. The pastures needed to be cleansed of sage, cleared of deadfall, sprayed for weeds, and reseeded.
Before the fire, our entire property was a representation of the sacrifices and suffering we had endured to create its expression. Our blood, sweat, and tears stained into everything. Our heart and soul could be found emanating throughout every inch of the ranch. If you looked closely you would feel this in everything. This could be seen by merely taking a closer look into any part of the ranch because everything was a representation of who we were and what we wanted this space to be for all. The time, effort, and love that went into its creation radiated through everything: fence lines, pastures, grass, trees, water, dwellings, people, and all critters.
This is how the ranch property became a home! The ranch took time to become a gathering space for any and all who wanted to be part of it. A home for all who wanted real connection with self-preservation. A home for those who wanted to be on a ranch, in the mountains, amongst horses, surrounded by wildlife, endless national forest to explore, and most of all to be part of a family. A home for all family and friends regardless of any circumstances. A home built with intention, with purpose, and meaning to welcome all to the space with open arms. A space that radiated love to, and through, all.
So when I think of the saying, home is where the heart is, I can’t help but scrutinize it. The foundation to a home is where the heart is, but a foundation is a final unfinished project. A foundation has no intent, no purpose, and no meaning by itself. For example, our home cannot be replaced because of all the complexities that went into its creation. We were all different people throughout all of the ranch’s progression over the years. Something like that was created during a particular time that cannot ever be recreated, even if you built everything the exact same way it was.
That home meant the world to my family and me, but it owes us nothing now that it is gone. It rewarded us with so many new and beautifully deepened relationships. The home gave us so many unrepeatable experiences and lessons by living under its domain. The home imparted us with wisdom that can only be acquired while living and improving alongside something over time.
Even now, that home is still giving from the ashes. The home has given us a rare opportunity to test who we truly think we are in our heads. The type of test that only tough times can reveal the reality behind the conceptualization. From the moment the house burned we all became different people, our future trajectories forever changed. I hope for the better, but only future time can give us that answer. Very few people ever get a test this extreme, because only an utter catastrophe can expose such an opportunity.
Thank you old home for all you gave and continue to give to my family. Thank you for all you have and will continue to teach me. Thank you for allowing us this opportunity to be tested to our core. You will be forever loved and missed by all who were part of you. What a privilege it was to live, love, and grow with you over the years. Goodbye old home! We must let go of you and continue to be transformed beyond you. We will honor your memory forever in our journey onward.
What is a home to you? How would you define it in your words based on your experiences or desires? I would love to dive even deeper and hear what all this means to you. Please reach out and let’s have a phone conversation to get into the infinite detail within it all!