On the Banks of Cedar Creek
I loved the Little House series when I was a little girl. I read the last one These Happy Golden Years many times because I never wanted the series to end. One of the earlier books in the series is called On the Banks of Plum Creek. Comforting scenes of that much loved book are available to me on recall at any time. Comforting scenes from all the meaningful books I have read are available to me like this. When we moved to our new old home on Cedar Creek, I started thinking about it as On the Banks of Cedar Creek. This makes me happy to do. It attaches my thoughts about Cedar Creek to some of my most pleasant childhood hours spent with the Ingalls family as they carved out their existence on the wild frontier.
During my illness I read Caroline Fraser’s Laura Ingalls Wilder biography Prairie Fires, or most of it. It is a beautiful, engaging book but it was hard for me to learn that my beloved family was quite dysfunctional. Laura Ingalls Wilder was not a very nice woman and she was a troubled mother. Her father Charles was a ne’er do well as my mother would say. Her mother Caroline came across as ineffectual and weak.
The Ingalls suffered enormous hardship as a family and much of this was brought on by the poor decision making of her father, over and over. I did not like this. It caused me cognitive dissonance. I had to stop reading. I felt guilty about this because it is an excellent and important book. But I didn’t want my memories to be ruined. Unfortunately it was too late. My memories are ruined. I am learning to deal with it.
So we live on The Banks of Cedar Creek. It sounds grand but it is an ordinary rural neighborhood. Most of our neighbors have about ten acres of land like us and the homes are modest. We live among several small bodies of water which are man-made ponds created by the damming of Cedar Creek, a tributary that runs geographically perpendicular.
Our home and property was owned by a man named Erv, who lost his wife to cancer and then lived here alone for many years. I researched some to learn about Erv because I now live in his beautiful house and he is still here -- everywhere. I read his obituary and his wife Judie’s obituary too. She seemed to have also been a wonderful, well loved person.
Erv was a loving steward of the house and property. He was a curmudgeon and a gardener and a bird watcher. He built wooden bluebird boxes obsessively and placed them all around the property and neighborhood. All the neighbors talk about him when we meet. He died in the shop behind the garage, where he was discovered by our neighbor who came to check on him.
We feel we know Erv pretty well and we are fond of him. Both my husband and I talk about him regularly as we make improvements here. We believe Erv would approve of what we are doing but I feel that some of our neighbors resent that we are not Erv. I get that too. We had to take down several of Erv’s beautiful trees because they were a danger to the house. It was sad to have to do this. I think this hurt the neighbors energetically. I explained to them but they still appeared bitter. These feelings are all quite normal. I am just extremely sensitive about energy.
I sometimes call my husband Erv now and he likes this. When Erv died, his children sold Cedar Creek to us. We are very fortunate to have gotten it. It has been a miracle to us after the years of my illness. We’ve only lived here about nine months now. We are doing what we can afford to do to renovate the land and house. We have to do most of the work ourselves because we cannot afford to pay contractors. We got some help taking down the trees and for a small kitchen remodel, but my husband and I are doing what we can as we can. He takes the outside and I take the inside. It is okay because we enjoy working hard.
There is little we would rather do other than enjoy our Cedar Creek property, the projects and our animals. My husband is expanding his bee operation and I collect chickens and hunt for mushrooms. We take Colleen and Rumi and Caroline’s cat Quinn for many walks on the property trail through the woods. We call this our own little Homeward Bound. Quinn walks too but always behind and like she doesn’t care. She does. We hope to expand our animal husbandry as we can afford.
The house at Cedar Creek is solid. It’s not really that old, but it has an old feel and the construction is like the good old days when people cared to build things of beauty that lasted. My heart is continually broken by the shit being built as homes today. I think these builders have no concept of responsibility to a future or any sense of harmony with nature or of beauty.
Before we left our other neighborhood, we were being encroached on all sides by this kind of building creep. The neighborhoods were going up and I felt suffocated. Some of the houses were so close together that you could touch them if you stretched your arms out between them. The houses themselves were often attractive and nice inside but who can live like that right on top of one another? It isn’t natural. Cities are made for that not neighborhoods. If people want to live on top of one another in the city then they should do that. I think there is a time and place for it, especially for young people finding their way in the world.
But we shouldn’t be building homes on top of one another because humans need space to be with nature. It is an energetic necessity, not just a pretty idea. The land and the flora and fauna nurture us energetically. There is an important energetic exchange that provides us with a kind of energy nutrition. That’s why we all feel so improved by a vacation at the beach or in the mountains. It is restorative. We need that everyday not just on holiday. This is imperative to our health.
Cedar Creek came to us as I was entering the final leg of my healing journey. I was still sick off and on the first six months we were here but I made a commitment to walking every day no matter what and I did that. I started walking about two miles a day, up and down our neighborhood road and through the trails on our property. After about three months I started walking twice a day whenever I could.
Over time I developed a practice of using my walks for reflection and prayer. At first I had invited a couple other women in my neighborhood to join me on my walks from time to time because I knew making friends was important for my healing. But then I realized I needed to be alone to do my prayer work. This made me feel bad because I think the women I befriended think I didn’t enjoy their company which is not true. I tried to explain but you know how that goes.
My prayer sessions became a defining feature of my walk. I began to talk to myself out loud, rehearsing positive affirmations over and over as they came to me. I started feeling a lot better doing this and I felt connected to my inner guidance. This was helping me a lot and motivated me to do this out loud prayer work more and more rigorously. Occasionally I would become emotional on my walks as I repeated my affirmations. I would cry hard and sometimes I would vocalize more.
Sometimes my neighbors would see me do this as they drove or walked by me. Not often though. I’m like the guy with the weed wacker who stops wacking the weeds until you go by. This is just courteous. Our neighborhood is sleepy and quiet so my walks are mostly completely private. But sometimes this would happen. I decided not to worry about it. I wasn't going to restrain myself because I was embarrassed. I knew this was healing me.
After about six months of this, I came to realize that I was fully well. It was hard at first to accept this and scary because I fear unwellness the most, a lot more than dying. I was nervous to stop treating with bee stings but I did. It was a big deal to stop. I healed myself alone with Bee Venom Therapy. I had been stinging myself with bees at least thirty times a week for two years. Most sting sessions were ten bee stings at a time along either side of my spine because the venom is delivered through the central nervous system. I have scars from this but I don’t care. I like to say why should I care about what’s behind me?
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