"You live where?" Eyes widen. And you're given a second look for the first time as if all preconceptions have just been tossed out the window and now, suddenly, you're a blank - but intriguing - slate. You could be anybody now to those people who pegged you one way or another. But one thing is certain; you are a contradiction.
I don't mind any of it. In fact, like most of us, I'm just as guilty of assumptions made about folks based on first impressions and all that other stuff. It's human nature to quickly categorize the people and faces that pop in and out of our lives each day. I believe it's part of an inherent need to keep things orderly in our minds by creating labels and classifications - a sort of kingdom, phylum, and class of our society.
Exactly one year ago, we broke ground in the back corner part of 15 acres of land that, together, are shaped like a crooked "L." It's a rough road back to where the house went up, a spot everyone tried to talk us out of for reasons I still don't understand. Exactly one year ago tonight we set our alarms for early in order to meet the builders in the woods. They showed up at 7am. We'd already been standing around nervously for an hour, eaten our fresh baked kolaches for breakfast, eyes puffy and blurred from a night of little sleep. How can you sleep the night before your future starts?
It seems more appropriate, on our home's first birthday, to show a picture of it. But it's not the anniversary of wood and metal I want to celebrate. Instead, this first birthday is about the vehicle it's been for everything else. Tonight, I climbed on top of the round bale after we took a walk to the pond trailed by goats, dogs, and donkeys. From up high, I captured the bizarre and magnificent cloud formations that rolled in just at sunset - a suitably dramatic gift for this anniversary.
To the woman who sat bewildered next to me yesterday: You wanna know why I live here? You think it's just because I like chickens?
Happy birthday to our delightfully strange house and to the delightfully strange life it's afforded.