The equinoxes are all about balance; a time of equal day and night as we cycle through the seasons of the sun. Old things fade away and we look forward to the new. It is in my nature to be an optimist and I do my best to live my life in gratitude. Still, I am grieving for the loss of all that I spent so much effort on building at Artemisia. Tallying up all the expenses for my tax return really brought it all into consciousness in a glaringly painful way. When I left Artemisia last summer to return to California for work, I was happy that the big, expensive projects were done and that I could look forward to paying off the related debt, enjoying income in 2015 that wouldn’t immediately go toward the erosion control project, and making time to work on the wobbly-spiral meditation trail I had laid out, and my herb garden.
It is so very hard to let go of what was to accept what is. There is no more guest house. And I don’t know how long “our” house (mom’s and mine) will be safe atop the bluff…not long, I suspect.
The future of Artemisia is a mystery to me at present. I have only my faith to remain optimistic that some solution will present itself so that we can spend at least some time living on the land this summer. So far, the County Commissioners have remained mute on the subject of declaring a disaster so that we can apply for FEMA aid, so I intend to start working with my neighbors up and down the battered shoreline to put pressure on the three counties involved to make that happen…as soon as I am free from working in California to spend time on-site.
As I have no way of paying back any more money than I’ve borrowed already, I’m not going to be looking for loans. But my boyfriend is thinking that he might buy our retirement house now rather than later…but not on the land. He wants a place in town for various reasons but also doesn’t want to sink his whole retirement fund into building on land that is eroding. Nevermind that the houses perched on the cliff now had managed to survive for 100 years. Climate change means that old assumptions no longer hold up. So…we will continue working with the pros at Michigan Tech and our neighbors along the lake to research effective erosion control measures that can be put into place before building anything new. Between the new erosion control measures, removing the old structures, and building something new, the costs are out of reach of our ability to do much of anything at Artemisia now anyway.
So…here we go into an unknown future, one cautious step at a time.
Skimming through old photos taken on the land and nearby at other sites in the Keweenaw renew my sense of gratitude and hope. I love this place that has called to me for so long. I’ve committed myself to being a steward of this space. That is not something that can be left behind with things of the past. I look with hope and happiness toward a future that will be different than the one I’d planned, but I’m confident that it will be beautiful and magical in its own way.
Into the light we go!