Monday, March 7, 2011

Buying Land: Part I

"Buy land; they're not making it anymore." 
~ Mark Twain

A bit of backstory:  The seed was initially planted for my decision to build a house back in December, the night my van broke down.  I had gone out to a favorite music venue (the Adobe Bar at the Historic Taos Inn) and immediately met a man who I ended up conversing (and dancing) with all night.  It was one of those instant connections, where you feel as though you're reestablishing an old friendship.  When he walked me to my van at the end of the evening, out of the blue it just wouldn't start, so I left it there and he brought me home, but we didn't exchange phone numbers, and the next day, I wished we had.

I was without the van for a month while local mechanics tried to figure out what was wrong with it.  After thinking it was one thing and ordering the wrong part, they finally decided it was the ignition switch, and because a) it operates with one of those ridiculous newfangled keyless systems, and b) our local Chrysler dealer closed down THE DAY my van broke down, I ended up having to get it towed to Santa Fe to get a new "key" reprogrammed.  So this was when I first started thinking about selling the van, which of course led to thinking about what I would do with the money (my parents said they didn't want it back).

The first day that I looked on the Cid's bulletin board for land for sale - Valentine's Day as it so happens - I saw a flyer featuring a really nice 1.25 acres on the Mesa, and as I was studying it, up sidles the man I'd met that fateful night (I'll call him Rusty), and he says, "I'll give you a good deal on it."  Yes, it was Rusty's land.

You'd better believe we exchanged phone numbers this time.

I was checking out other pieces of land too, so the day I went out to see Rusty's, I looked at another place first.  My 13-year-old son, Graeme, who will be my main building partner, went with me and we spent a lot of the afternoon wandering around some land that was definitely a good deal, and being sold by a very nice guy I'd talked to on the phone earlier, but didn't feel right at all.

By the time we got out to Rusty's, it was pretty late in the day, and I was tired, overstimulated, and feeling very uneasy about taking my prissy van down the rutted dirt roads of the Mesa.  We went down the wrong road and almost got stranded on some rocks, so at that point I was ready to hang it up and go home.  But then Rusty drove out to meet us and led us the rest of the way.

The moment we stepped foot on the land, a truly magical thing happened.  I looked over to the west, and the sun was just dipping below the horizon, which was lovely enough.  But then, I looked to the west, and the enormous full moon was just barely peeking up behind the mountains.  We watched it rise in awe.  So quiet and vast, that Mesa.  This photo was taken just a few moments later:

Click to enlarge - you won't regret it.
While walking around that first place Graeme and I had visited, I'd been hoping for some sort of sign to let me know if this was to be my land - an interesting rock, a feather, maybe.  Something.  I had no idea what was in store for me on Rusty's land, in that perfect moment of stunningly beautiful balance.

Serendipity.  Apparently it's one of the hardest words to define, but from reading Wikipedia's discussion of it, and combining that with what was already my visceral sense of the word, I would define it as "meaning-laden good fortune that surpasses that which was sought."

Hey, I have a Master's degree in English - I can make up definitions if I want.