I moved into my long-term casita rental last Friday. I am getting used to it now, but when I got here several things surprised me, and not in a good way:
Part of my house is open to the sky at all times. Picture two semi-circles on either side of a rectangle. The rectangle is the entryway and the stairs that connect the floors. The semi-circles are the rooms: kitchen and a large bathroom on the first floor; two bedrooms on the second floor; one semi-circle of a roof terrace on the third floor.
The steps are open to the sky. Next to my house are trees: eucalyptus and pine, and they shed things at all hours of the day. Especially when it’s windy. Part of one pine tree’s trunk stretches through one of the bedrooms.
Now I realize I simply must sweep the steps and entryway and second floor terrace every day. And that none of the floors will ever be “barefoot” clean, at least not to my standards.
In the evenings now there are thunderstorms. They roll through the valley and bring with them enlivening winds and sometimes rain.
I like to stand on the third floor, where I can just barely see the Parroquia through the branches of a tree, and feel the life of the wind. It reminds me of the days when I lived in Bellingham when on windy November days I’d walk down to the pier at midnight to see the waves lapping over the wood and feel the life in the 60-mph gusts.
Tonight after I swept the steps and terraces I stood on the roof terrace, eyes closed, feeling fat rain drops and the force of the wind. I felt the life force of the ground beneath my home and the people who once made their home there, long ago.
The other thing I did not realize before I moved in here was that the two neighborhood cats also have access to my house. They come down from the roof, probably after having first climbed the trees, and meow at my bedroom door at night. I wake to see eyes glittering through the window. Last night I failed to lock the other bedroom and found the havoc the cats wreaked after I refused to let them in my bedroom: a table turned over and a toilet paper roll shredded. This morning they still wanted in my kitchen, so I locked the door to keep them out. Unfortunately, I was unable to unlock the door to let myself out for some time.
I carry all my keys in my pocket now. Five keys for one house.
My worldly possessions arrived Monday, and I’ve unpacked about half of them. So good to sleep in my own sheets again! The other half will have to wait until I have somewhere for it to go: this house is shockingly lacking in storage.
Especially cat-proof storage. The neighbor cat saga has only served to remind me that I must kitten proof my house in the next few weeks before my kittens come home to live with me. Won’t THAT be interesting. They have an actual indoor tree to climb! And so many ways to get lost or locked in/out or basically into cat-mischief.
All I can do is to take the next breath. I’m breathing.