It seems fitting that, on the eve of my land-blessing, I should re-post this here. In just a little while, a tiny group of dear Beings will gather to stand with me as I make my commitment to the land as its steward and co-creator. I’ll post what I can from the event — I’m terrible at recording as I participate in things — but, for now, the land that I’d once called The Boot becomes something more in alignment with my intentions and dreams for us.
would a boot by any other name smell as sweet?
“What are you going to call it? A property this pretty is going to need a name.”
Ross and Elizabeth from the county Extension Services were wrapping up nearly a half day of walking the 11 acres of wooded land I was in the process of buying. I’d contacted their office for help with assessing the health of the trees and the opportunities for growing food crops for myself in the red, mica-flecked soil on the western side of the parcel. With their help, I’d been identifying trees and plants and asking advice about siting my home. It had been a beautiful, sunny day, pleasant not only in the gorgeous fall weather but in the company I was keeping. Conversation with the pair was easygoing and punctuated by laughter. I was learning much and enjoying it greatly.
Ross had asked the question, but he wasn’t the first, and he wouldn’t be the last.
“I’m calling it The Boot,” I replied, glancing up just in time to see Ross trying to arrange his face to hide his surprised inner critique of my mad property-naming skillz.
“Uhhhh…” he began. Again: Not the first; not the last.
“So…you don’t like it,” I more stated than asked and heard Elizabeth subtly clear her throat behind me.
“Well, if you look at the aerial view of the parcel, it’s boot-shaped,” I tried to explain, my own opinion of the name starting to tarnish a tad with Ross and Elizabeth’s skepticism. When I thought about the hours of research I generally put into naming my dogs, “The Boot” was a little embarrassing. Too literal, like naming a pet “Spot” because of a dot of color on an otherwise white face or “Socks” because of white paws on a darker background. Or, in the case of my first childhood pet, Puddles. Because, obviously.
And, here I was, naming my new home, a place I hoped would hold and support me for the rest of my life and heal all those who sought peace within its bounds, based on a shape no one would ever see unless I posted the survey map on a wall somewhere. And outlined the shape in yellow highlighter. Maybe drew a few red arrows around it, just for good measure.
a better fit for crowsfoot and pines
Months later, as I woke from a dream on a sunny morning, hours away from the tall, stately pines and masses of crowsfoot carpeting the ground beneath them, it came to me: a name with many layers and plays on words.
It’s a name that echoes the translation of my name, which is “joy” or “joyful.”
It’s the name of a stronghold for hearts seeking refuge, hearkening back to the Arthurian legend I read as a young adult and so treasured for its lessons about love and friendship and the ways they break us open.
It’s a name whose sound plays on the gardens I hope to co-create with the land, which is untamed but with its own wild food to harvest and spaces that can be gently cultivated for growing vegetables and fruits.
It’s a lofty name for the simple life I hope to live there. But, you know, I think it fits — better than a boot, more like a glove:
This post originally appeared on my creative writing blog, Small Conceits. Because my journey to what will become my mountain home involves a different kind of storytelling, I’ve moved these posts here to retain and extend the narrative without muddying the waters on Small Conceits.