I Will Live Outside…again

“I will live outside again”

…a promise I made to myself and posted on the wall by my desk 8 years ago while living in my parents’ basement as a single mother and going to school.

Some people want to make a bunch of money, live in a fancy house, take vacations in “desired” locations and have the security of two cars in the garage. I’ve never wanted this. Life inside these kind of walls tends to bug me out…I get claustrophobic…anxiety creeps in and chokes out my lifeforce.

When I live outside, close to the movement and rhythm of the Earth and sky, I feel better. I breathe more deeply, think more clearly and feel more in tune with my own sacred purpose.


The uncontrolled climate of the “great outdoors” wakes something up in me…a deep wild REALness that loves to know the heat of summer and the cold of winter…loves to feel the subtle humidity in the desert after the rains…loves to hear the animals shuffling around in the night, the coyotes singing to the moon and the birds celebrating first light. I am happiest when my cycles are attuned to the larger cycles of nature and the Universe.

So this has been my big dream…my big life goal…to live outside…again…

I say again because I got to taste and experience the magic of life at the pace and flow of the natural world during my daughter’s early years. Her daddy and I had been traveling and camping here and there around the country for years before she was conceived…living homefree and beyond the walls of conventional life. It was awesome in so many ways…the freedom and the adventure of it…the gorgeous places we got to travel through and wake up in. But we were always on the move, bopping in and out of the cities and spending lots of time on the interstate in between the sweet little campspots we found.

As I started to feel the call to become a mother I longed to root into a place and stay…to unwind myself into the dance of the seasons and the movement of the moon…to get away from the static of industrial culture and feel at HOME somewhere on the Earth. This was the reality I wanted to bring a child into. So we hunted and searched for a beautiful, natural place to plant ourselves and prepare for being parents.

It’s actually quite a lot harder than you may think to find a simple place to live a natural life in this country

The tentacles of corporate industrial culture are almost everywhere…polluted water and soil, suburban sprawl and heavily regulated federal lands stretch across what once was a vast expanse of wild lands. And, even if you can find a place free from all of this craziness…the private land is sooooo expensive.

But eventually we found it…the place that felt right. BIG mountains, BIG valley, BIG sky. I fell in love! My wild spirit rejoiced! I was HOME.

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Me and Luna Blue in the Spring of 2003…gotta love Spring in the Rockies!!

And…by an act of grace, we were blessed with the resources to buy a little piece of land right up next to the mountains. We got ourselves a 12×12 canvas wall tent and a wood stove to go in it and we began to settle into our new lifestyle.

We spent three full years in our sweet little canvas home…enjoying the seasons of the Rocky Mountains…Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall…without electricity and plumbing and closets and the other perceived “necessities” of life.

We raised up our baby with all the luxurious actual necessities of life and the freedom to enjoy them without distraction. She had loving arms, mama’s milk, cozy family time, clean water, fresh air and the space to be herself…exploring the natural world with her little natural human body. And she was happy.

It was a dream come true in a lot of ways…But it was a dream that we weren’t quite ready for.

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Luna Blues….toes and all…Summer of 2003

We were trying to follow some faint yearning…some distant memory that was buried deep down inside, under the habits and patterns and addictions and dysfunctions we’d inherited from our suburban childhoods and the mass media culture. We were trying to wake up a lifeway that had been dormant for generations…a lifeway that takes a whole tribe and a culture to support it.

We were reading books on canning and gardening and composting and parenting, fumbling to learn all the skills we needed and feeling the loss of those grandmothers and grandfathers who would have shown us how if our culture were intact.

We were trying to be everything to each other and our daughter…but we weren’t even enough for ourselves yet…we were still growing up and finding ourselves…healing from the cultural wounds and confusion of the modern world we’d been born into.

After 6 years of working together to bring this dream to fruition against all odds, our young marriage couldn’t sustain itself any longer. We simply didn’t have the skills, maturity and community support to navigate the more complex challenges of our own personal growth and the re-creation of a whole new culture while maintaining our marriage…so, after doing our best to keep it together, we eventually had to part ways.

And in our parting this whole lifeway unraveled. We had to walk away from the dream.

For me, as a newly single mother, without a job or education to speak of, that meant walking right back into a life of walls and jobs and schooling, trying to figure out how to “make it on my own” while taking care of my little girl in mainstream society. Maintaining a semblance of consistency for my daughter and generating some income flow meant making HUGE compromises to my personal values and desires and taking some pretty major steps backward on my journey toward a natural lifeway.

It crushed me. Broke my heart. Challenged my faith and ignited my anger that it should be so hard to live “simply”…that one should have to fight tooth and nail to earn the right to live off the grid and with the land…to get to that basic platform of chopping wood and carrying water.

I set my intention, then and there, to do whatever I needed to do to live outside again one day…


Our new threshold…into the tent life again!

Now, almost 9 years after walking away from this dream…after all these years of learning and growing in preparation to return to the Earth…I am taking active tangible steps back toward it again…carrying all that I’ve learned about what it takes to sustain a life close to the Earth…and breathing patience into each part of the process.

And…as good fortune would have it…the man that I’ve fallen madly in love with just happens to have a wall tent…and a journey and yearning much like my own.

So, as we invest all that we’ve both learned along our rich and winding paths into visioning for the longterm cultivation of a new natural lifeway, our first simple step is into the “back yard”…sleeping and waking in the fresh mountain air…sunlight filtering through the canvas and wind breathing the sides in and out…living outside once again.  


Truly…the best friggen partner on the planet!!


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