“Where do you live?”

A chance meeting with another dog owner in our neighborhood sparks a conversation.

“We’re in the log house near the east end of Cougar Run.”

“Oh, the one without a garage.”

For seven years, we’ve been known as the house in the neighborhood without a garage.  e

Our neighbor, Connie, told me recently they’d looked at our house when it was for sale, but didn’t pursue it because it didn’t have a garage.

My mother couldn’t believe we could live in a place that averages 150 inches of snow per winter without a garage.

Having lived through many snowy winters in the Sierra, some with more than 300 inches of snow, it didn’t really bother met that much.  Yeah, you had to get up a lot earlier when it snowed overnight to make time to dig out the car, but it was the price we paid to live in such a scenic place.

We came to a turning point this past year.  The vacant lot next to us had been for sale for years.  We loved having our privacy to the west, and also despaired the lack of fire mitigation being done.  We could probably scrape up enough money to buy the lot if the seller was willing to negotiate.

But that same amount of money could be used to build a garage.  Not only would a garage provide a benefit during winter weather, and of course add value to our property, but would signify something greater – putting down roots.

Prior to moving to Nederland, I had never lived at one address for more than three years in my entire adult life.  My mother joked that she had three entire pages of her address book dedicated to my vagabond lifestyle and the accompanying addresses.

I think I liked it that way.  Always wandering, wanting to know what was around the bend, I told my friends I  had “itchy feet.”  I found it difficult to stay in one place for very long, itching to get on to the next adventure.

But when we moved to our mountain home on top of a mountain, something in me shifted.  As the years have passed by, rather than experiencing wanderlust, I feel more and more at home.  I feel I have found my forever place.  No longer do I long to move on to the next place, instead taking solace in coming home each evening, and enjoying the coziness of cuddling on the couch next to the wood stove.

When we first moved to Nederland, as expected, friends and families expressed skepticism.  My father-in-law kept asking Bryon, “does Leslie want to move yet?  She probably wants to move to Boulder now, doesn’t she?”  When someone has lived 20 years on the move, it’s understandable to doubt their ability to stay in one place.

Building the garage signifies our investment in staying here for a good long while.  As the boards go up, and I envision parking my car and walking back to the house, I know it’s the right thing to do, to invest in our future — a long future of living out our days here.

If you build it, they will come.  In this case, my heart is already here, and this building, a simple garage, signifies staking our claim to this place for a long time to come.