Friday, September 9, 2011

Road trips away from the poison house

Had a rough few weeks with anxiety attacks out of control. I thought it was the might be...our manufactured home is poisoning us. So we decided to get out of the house more. We took several short road trips around the area. One day we went to the Wetmore library to donate some books I no longer have any interest in. (Funny how the novels I used to love irritate me so these days.) Then we headed through the San Isabel Forest, stopping by a long time favorite, Bishop's Castle, and onward to Rye because I saw a house for sale that was cheap down that way. Rye has about 8 more inches of precipitation than where we live now--something to consider for the future of Southern Colorado that might be on the way to a permanent drought.

Bishop's Castle, front
I'm always impressed with Bishop's Castle, the design and the sheer enormity of one man's creation. We took the little kids up inside the first floor (another generation introduced to the castle), but it was overwhelming for me to stay there with my new chronic dizziness and random head pains. It was also chilly up there in the forest, so we admired and moved on. Check out the website at

Bishop's Castle, San Isabel National Forest
Bishop's Castle, towers
It is worth visiting the castle, if you ever get the opportunity. It has been built out of local stone from the forest by one man with a dream. Pretty is his fight with local government entities over the castle. Why can't they just leave a man alone? Why can't they just leave everyone alone? If one wants to run off into the woods and build a castle...or an Earthship that collects and recycles'd think one could do that. But not here in the good old US of A. And where this castle was building codes, and yet they harassed him anyway. Home of the home land. Makes me proud (sarcasm).

When we got to the lovely little town of Rye, my dizziness had started to subside, and I thought as we drove amongst the tall Ponderosa pines, that perhaps I belonged in the forest after all. Maybe my physical symptoms were a spiritual message to get out of prison land and move someplace entirely different. After all, with Richard's back issues and the kids and their issues, maybe it's now my turn to hear the wake-up call. But do I heed the messages from beyond, if that is indeed what they are? How does one decipher any of it...the mundane ego world and the esoteric spiritual world?

The trees smelled divine...absolutely wonderful, reminding me of childhood spent in the forests of Colorado, perhaps. And the cute little house that is for sale down there is like a cottage in the woods...a fairy tale dwelling for sure. It may not have enough land to take the llama boys too, though, and it was really in the trees.

Am I too much of a desert rat to relocate to the forest? (Tried it once when we moved to Oregon...but we ended up in the dismal, dirty, crime infested city...over priced and our budget put us in the I never really got to live in trees.)

In any case, I enjoyed my day in trees (think Nine Inch Nails) and Richard told me that to him the Ponderosas smell like butterscotch, but to some people they smell like strawberries...a little trivia from his career as a boy scout.

Nuh uh, I thought, they just smell like trees...big, beautiful pines. Smell it," he said. "Get out of the car and put your nose against the bark." So, I did, wondering if someone was going to come out of their little house in the woods to ask me what the heck I thought I was doing, smelling their tree. And, as I leaned in, anticipating the fresh pine scent, I was struck with the pungent smell of strawberry candy, just as my nose grazed the bark of the nearest tree. Amazing!! Just like when the kids open a strawberry lollipop...that's what that tree smelled like.

Can't wait to try that again. Lucky for me there are no Ponderosas near my house or I'd be giving the neighbors something new to talk about.

And last weekend we went to Salida...another favorite, maybe. It sure sounds promising. Artsy. Liberal. Progressive. Outdoorsy. What more could a girl want? We drove around looking at the farms on the outskirts of town, and at the little Victorian houses in town. Everyone was riding a bike and it seems every house had a family of bikes parked on the porch. Good for them. And three health food stores! I found the kids' natural suckers in one. But I fear, Salida is too trendy and overpriced for us to be able to move there, but I'll keep my eyes open anyway.

The drive to Salida always reminds me of the drive from Taos to Santa to the river. There is even a set of railroad tracks that follows the river on the far side. The road is just as curvy and the mountainsides full of rocks ready to fall on the unsuspecting traveler. But in NM, the rocks are all netted and fenced in, and here, they have only done that in one spot. I couldn't help but think about the rock slide last year that closed the road for at least a week, and I told those rocks to stay up there on the mountains as we slipped by.

We made it back without incident, and as we headed into our little home town, my head started to pound again. What is wrong with me? Brain tumor or anxiety attack?

We decided not to enroll the little ones in preschool. We went to every single one of them on our list and interviewed teachers and checked out the facilities, and not one single one made me feel good. Too much mainstream crap. I don't want my kids indoctrinated into a culture I don't buy into and one that is on the verge of collapse anyway. Where is the preschool with yoga and guided meditation? With art time, story time, dance time, nature time and teachings on saving the earth? Oh yeah, it doesn't exist.

I coudn't help but think that we, as their parents, could give them more education and support and safety at home than a preschool ever could. So we passed on the IEP program and decided to try it ourselves, checking out more books on homeschooling, the Montessori method and autism. We did get the kids up to the Springs to run the blood tests and we have an appointment in November to get them in for an official diagnosis...or not, if it turns out that way.

So, I'm trying to detox now, thinking there is something making me ill, all the while trying to figure out what the next move is...should we stay here or should we go? Thinking we should take a drive over to Paonia (another expensive town, but a county without building codes). That town keeps popping up these literature on global warming and one of the Co-op members is headed over that way for a juicing retreat of some sort.

For now we are stuck where we are planted, so if I could just get past my head issues, maybe I could see some blooming future here. We are taking the kids to story time at the two libraries for "socialization," and I'm looking for a liberal leaning, free thinking homeschool group to join (not having much luck there, locally...may have to start one). And Richard is giving canning classes (one on pressure canning this Sunday), I'm trying to sell some of my strange water colors at the Farmer's market, and most importantly, I'm on the look out for a Ponderosa Pine to interview as my new best friend.

1 comment:

  1. That castle is awesome. I love the forest, and that would be my preferred landscape to live in above all others. In theory, at least. I'm currently having a long-distance love affair with the redwoods of northern California.

    I'm really sorry to hear about your dizziness and headaches. I really hope and pray you get whatever it is you need to bring healing.

    Your watercolors are not strange, in my opinion. I think they're great, and I'm glad you've decided to sell them. I think you'll do really well with that.

    I know what you mean about preschools. But after raising three other kids, I've finally found one like the dream preschool you described. I wish I could go to school there :)