So here I am, suddenly living alone for the first time in thirty years, winding down to retirement in a matter of weeks after thirty-five years of full-time work, living in a new community for the first time in thirty years, and parentless for the first time, ever. A lot of change in a month!
I am writing this, as is my wont, standing up, in the great room of my new home. The view in front of me is this one, and there’s a similar view to my right. To my left and behind me there is garden and forest, rising into the mountains. There is forest, in fact, all around me, and here it stays green all year round. I really am alone – there are no neighbours within eyesight or earshot. The nearest house, at least from what I’ve discovered from my walks so far and from the Google aerial shots, appears to be an organic foods restaurant and permaculture garden about a five minute walk down the hill and down the road.
Here’s the house from the front. At the moment, I’m waiting for my first furniture to arrive – a sectional sofa and a bed. I’m shipping a small amount of furniture from my last home in Ontario next month, but it’s basically furnishings for the other two bedrooms, so I can welcome visitors (I’ve invited lots of friends to visit, but they’re so scattered around the globe I suspect visitors will be few and far between). I really have all I need here – three suitcases of clothes and one of artwork, plus my laptop and the other portable electronics I take everywhere I go, and my bicycle. I have some kitchenware and linens to buy, and some stools for the kitchen bar, but that’s about it. The organic food store in town, a twenty-minute bike ride away, has all my favourite vegan foods and raw ingredients.
Beside me is a large and lovely park that is largely unknown, even to my fellow Bowen Islanders, since it is brand new and not yet on the ‘map’, so it is almost as if it is my own. Not that I need the space or the privacy, but this park, with its deep dark ponds, bridges and moss-covered stone circle will be, for now at least, the site of my morning meditative, presencing and reconnecting practices. Picture me walking barefoot down to this park, along the wood-chip trail, in a kimono (or caftan in cooler weather), my cushion and candle in hand, my iPhone with the appropriate music and guided mediations clipped to my belt.
The interior space is open and large and full of light — perfect for Open Space sessions I plan to facilitate to plot our campaign to stop the Tar Sands and factory farming in Canada. And the bathroom upstairs is a romantic fantasy – an old-fashioned tub in the middle of a large room, with skylights above it. The perfect place for soaking in the evening beneath the stars. Hot water always seems to stimulate my imagination and creativity, readying me for an evening of writing, or the composition of music.
All my life I have been blessed with incredible good fortune – great parents and friends, love, security, health, material comfort, well-paying and (mostly) rewarding work that just seemed to fall into my lap. Accidentally discovering blogging seven years ago – the most important turning point of my life, and catalyst for a dozen fortuitous events since then. Even the serious illness that befell me three years ago was a blessing, prompting me to make changes to my lifestyle and life’s intentions that have been transformative and entirely positive.
And now this – this eden.
But I won’t be spoiled, or diverted from my intentions.
Your new home looks absolutely perfect – all it needs is to be completely off the grid and using solar or wind power and satellite for internet. You can see what my dream is – I am about to move to a farm house where it will have satellite – but still on the grid for electricity. Can I say the bathroom is the stuff of dreams – I have never been comforatble living in cities and am a big supporter of organic/biodynamic foods etc so I am envious 8-) One day I will own the place of my dreams…
It’s wonderful, Dave.
Wow, Dave – the location and the house are gorgeous. Can’t wait to visit you (and my other BI mates) one day
Well done, sir. Be easy with yourself for a few months, at least whenever you can. The big bump sneaks up on you. Then the big ah, when you get it. I wish you joy. And focus.
“discovering blogging seven years ago – the most important turning point of my life, and …”
I am glad you did.
Lovely place to continue your life/work; you are blessed.
In that place, and with your friends, work and the virtual world, you are anything but living alone.
Oh Dave – lovely I will be there – fond regards
Thanks for this glimpse of your life as it is unfolding, Dave. It ‘feels’ lovely.
Glad to see you arrived to your inner intentional community…. very happy for you and hope you brought the “Quipu” with you….
If I didn’t know you better, I’d think these photos were some kind of sham bait-‘n’-switch to lure people up there. I’m with Nerida: that bathroom is like something out of a dream. A very expensive, very well art-directed dream.
I’m delighted for your continued good fortune. I think the house is in very good hands!
I don’t want to spoil the party Dave, but isn’t that a gas guzzler on the drive? Is it yours?
It’s really beautiful, Dave! Congratulations!
Congratulations Dave and happy to see you found a place that brings you happiness.
It could be chalanging to live alone after 30 years being together with your familly. But after 7 years bloging your readers community is probably big enough to make you not being alone. I am waiting for more posts about this nice place you moved in.
When I wonder what I’d do if I had lots of money like average westerners: I’m never dreaming of a big house and car for a lonely me, rather building a coop and have a bunch of motivated jobless people getting educated about permaculture and woodhouse building working with me to build a wholetree village and sustainable gardens…
I’m a fairy teller!
Dave are you the change you wanna see in the world?
Now I have 2 people to visit when venturing to Bowen Island … one of these days!
All the best Dave and enjoy Paradise
Welcome aboard mate…see you when i get home.
Happy times, eh! The house and island look wonderful. Reading about your journey here reminds me of Thoreau moving out to Walden Pond. ;)
All the best in your new home, Dave. It will be good to visit one day.
Thanks for sharing all of this with us.
Wow, Dave!!!! Awesome!!!!
Beautiful; just as you deserve Dave. Embrace the new with all the hope that you lend us through your posts.
Don’t you think your house is tad too large for a person claiming to be environmentally conscious? After all, your bathroom alone would be able to house a family of 3 in Western Europe (maybe a family of 6 in China). But oh no – this eden alright. Just think if everyone on this planet shared in your image of eden…. That’s right, there would be no room for deer, birds, etc, but most importantly – no room for heaven bound Dave.
Not to be too condescending, but, in one word….
I respect your opinion, Brad, but…
1. I didn’t build the house, nor would I. The worst thing we can do for the environment right now is to build yet more houses, including “environmentally-conscious” ones. This house was sitting empty. I’m just renting it.
2. I am only occupying a small part of the space, and the heat in the rest is turned off. Lights are turned off whenever they’re not in use.
3. The house will be used for brainstorming and Open Space sessions to try to address some of the intractable problems Canada and the world are facing.
4. I am already active in the (substantial) Making Bowen Green movement here, making a positive difference in local ways that actually do make a difference.
5. I buy local, used and organic whenever possible. I bicycle and use public transport exclusively — I’m finally “car-free”.
So I don’t feel I need to apologize for living here. Just sayin’.
Is Dave’s house too large for someone claiming to be environmentally conscious? Yes, i’m inclined to agree that it is. Although the bathroom is not actually as large as the picture makes it look.
However, does throwing your judgments at him do any good? I doubt it. Judgmentalness of that sort gives environmentalists a bad rep and i think it actually gets in the way of people changing their behavior. Notice Dave’s response, a typical liberal defensiveness–not surprising. Did you expect him to break his lease and move based on your insight? If not, then why frame it that way?
Life in “1st world” nations in the 21st century is complex, and especially so for people who do genuinely care for the planet, as Dave does. We are none of us free of the taint of destruction, of complicity. I lead a simpler life than Dave: i eat at home more, cook from scratch, take pride in bicycling and in having never owned a personal car, travel less often on airplanes. I lived for years with an 8×12′ room as my only personal space, and over time edged up to a 20′ yurt, and now more than that. But i have no illusions that i am not participating in the killing of the planet–all of us are, you too.
I honor your pain for the natural world. You feel it, i feel it, Dave feels it, i think on some level every creature alive now feels it, whether they are consciously aware of it or not. Amid that pain, we do the best we can to find joy; Dave saw that location on top of the hill and fell in love. Had it been a one-room house, i honestly think he’d have signed the lease just as happily–in fact probably more happily. If you think he should change, i suggest you find ways to reach out with more care.
Goodluck with your paradise. I am happy for you that you found it here. But let me add – that backyard of yours looks pretty much the same as what I see everyday on my commute to work. The loneliness you have begun to enjoy could be realized even in the midst of a cabin full of commuters on the New York Subways. I tend to feel and see paradise in my everyday life, even in the midst of an extremely demanding schedule and lifestyle.
When I see the affection and passion in the olympic champion dedicating his gold medal to his brother, I see paradise. When I see the deep concern and panic with which a mother and her toddler daughter exchange looks as she drops her off on her first day at school – I see paradise. When I feel the roller coaster emotions of jubilation one day and desperation another day in my son, depending on whether it is an acceptance letter or a rejection letter from college that he had applied to – I see paradise. When we see a couple of squirrels endlessly taunting my neighbor’s dog in our backyard, my wife and I experience paradise. Seeing the following you have had among your readers, reading about the fantastic life you have led so far, even thru your illness, you have lived a life of paradise already. By calling your new home and its location a paradise, you are only making all that went before, seem that much less so – and that is unfair not only to yourself but everyone else who had been part of it.
I have always been thrilled by your writings, although this is my first one back in almost a year and I hope you continue to entertain and enlighten us with your thoughts. But I thought I would be insincere if I did not add my few cents worth to this posting.