Not all roads lead to the destination we think we are heading toward. The opportunity opened to visit a friend on vacation in Vermont and I promptly jumped in my car and headed north. My son was in college and my daughter was busy with softball, dating and hanging with friends. Ron was in his own world of coaching and endless ‘meetings’ held at a local bar. I was ready to find my own activities to fill evenings and weekends, looking for any road that seemed to lead out of the hole in the pit in my stomach. It was a lifestyle I had not planned or prepared for and my hand was unsteady as it sketched an outline. I had run from so many things: the oppression of overprotective parents, the isolation of the woods, love earned by giving up a piece of myself, and the reality of the impact of Ron’s drinking on my daily life. Running was a well honed tool that served me well in the past, so I called on it once again and prepared for the ride. I had always felt as if I were running away from things, but this time the direction shifted, as if I were running toward something – something I urgently needed to find.
There was no hurry to get to Vermont so I decided to exit the highway in favor of a more scenic route. The wooded landscape – not unlike that surrounding my childhood home – beckoned me to explore. The map led me to back roads winding toward the small lakes that dotted the countryside. The friend in Vermont and I had shared a mutual dream of purchasing a small piece of waterfront property to camp on. I scouted out ‘for sale’ signs near water. Signs nailed to trees or on posts nestled in wildflowers and weeds, steered me to the roadside. Spotty cell phone service forced me to pull into a convenience store to use the pay phone. The numbers all led to recorded messages – except for one. A live voice came on the line after just two rings, and she was available to show me around immediately! I described what I was looking for and we viewed several pieces of property that shouted with possibilities – until I mentioned that we wanted to use it for camping. She explained that most lakes were governed by associations that prohibited such use. It is still hard for me to understand that even if I own a piece of property, someone else can tell me what I can and cannot do on it. Possibility fell silent as it slammed into a wall of rules as solid as the surrounding oaks.
The agent realized the search for a piece of property had turned into a dead end, and asked if I would consider a condo on a small nearby lake. A minuscule budget made financial feasibility of such a purchase flutter like a fantasy, but I said I would take a look. The small three bedroom condo was on a beautiful little lake. The water was quiet, too small for boats with motors but ideal for paddling a kayak, surrounded by trees with most houses tucked out of sight. The setting provided the perfect amount of privacy without total isolation. It was perfect in all ways – except price. The realtor suggested we could rent some weeks to help pay for it – in the summertime for vacationers, in the fall for leaf peepers, and in the winter for skiers. A new image began to come into focus.
The rest of the drive to Vermont was filled with visions of the lake and the possibility of spending time there. Purchasing and renting a condo had never even been a consideration. But it was a means to an end. Not to mention my strong sense of being led there, called to not only the lake, but to woodlands so similar to those I had eagerly escaped at eighteen. I discussed the possibility with my friend when I arrived. She surprised me with her interest. We arranged to meet with the agent on her trip home from Vermont. We met, she saw, we talked, and we bought!