Saying goodbye to a dream? Years ago (actually, about 35) my husband and I found our dream place--land in Arkansas located on the edge of a wooded Ozarks hollow about a hundred and twenty miles from our home in the city. There was a live spring at the bottom of the main hollow, two ponds and a loosing stream below us in the valley. We named our dream place "Spring Hollow" and spent Friday and Sunday evenings for the next ten years commuting forth and back from the city where we worked to spend weekends there.
The two of us built a cabin so we had a place to nest--no plumbing or phone (this was before cell phones) but we did have electricity installed. Garage sale furniture, carried-in water, a composting toilet, and a shower stall where we could "bathe in a bucket," made our little cabin quite habitable. We spent weekends working on our cabin, making gardens in our clearing, and becoming acquainted with the growing things (lots of wild flowers) creatures, events, and humans that made up our country life.
This had a huge effect on me. Everything that happened at Spring Hollow seemed magic. Finally my love and emotions burst out in writing. I wrote and sold--almost immediately--my first Arkansas Ozarks essay in 1986. I had only dabbled in writing before, and had actually trained for and gained a career in retail, emphasizing art, interior design, and antiques. I'd only written a few poems about those interests (and ultimately sold one of them for international publication) but I'd never consistently written anything. Falling in love with the Arkansas Ozarks changed all that.
For ten years I wrote about the many things that interested me around Spring Hollow. Eventually the stack of published feature articles and essays became my first book, the non-fiction "DEAR EARTH: A Love Letter from Spring Hollow." It earned the Arkansas Governor's award for best writing about the state and a bunch of other nice things, but, for me, it was a personal journal, a diary recording experiences with the loves of my life--husband John, and our weekend retreat, which by 1988, had become a full-time home.
Years do pass. Life changes. Now Spring Hollow is for sale, and we have bought a condominium in a quiet area (with a few trees, by Spring Hollow standards) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Heart tug--yes, but while we are waiting for the right buyer, I have begun loving the sharing I can do with the people who will eventually take over our stewardship on this land. In the meantime, I have continued my writing experience with a mystery series set in various special places around me in Arkansas. My protagonist, a mature woman, lives in a place called Blackberry Hollow. Can you guess about the physical details of this home place for Carrie McCrite? Right. Therefore I have the best of two worlds--a convenient and cozy condo on the edge of a medium-sized city, AND time with Carrie at Blackberry Hollow.
Writing is indeed a wonderful career, and enables some of us to keep our dreams alive and always with us!