From the chair at my desk in the loft, I can see a patch of sunlight dappling the meadow beneath a birch tree. I ease down and grasp the strap of my camera case. When I load the snapshots onto my computer, I notice a bird feeder that my eyes could not detect. The cobwebs on the pottery in my transom blur in the foreground. I study the rust on the old car in front of a trailer from which I have never seen the resident emerge. I wonder about him.
The tiny house row sits higher than the rest of the homes on the park’s west side. I suppose we’re more vulnerable. If push came to shove, a levee break would wipe us out first, but if the creek overflows its banks, we will probably survive. The guy in that old rig, though — he’d be a goner in either case.
When I visited my brother in St. Louis before I moved, he asked if I would be living in a trailer park. He shook his head when I shrugged my response. People romanticize tiny house living. In reality, only in counties on the Oregon border could I legally park without the structure of pre-set utility poles and nearby services. I could go off-grid. With an easily added solar system, a fresh-water tank and its current composting toilet and propane hot-water heater, this house could stand by itself on the coast.
But this park provides community. From where I sit, I can see a tiny house to the east and a park model to the west. On either side of those, more tiny houses stretch six lots either way. Over on the park’s eastern acreage, a cluster of RV dwellers live, laugh, and love in sleek steel boxes equipped with small bedrooms, dining booths, and stadium seating. We’re all like-minded souls who eschew suburbia and the outrageous cost of living on the peninsula. We share a community meal each week. This morning I walked down to a neighbor’s place for coffee. In the spring we will host the fourth annual Camp Tiny House. Whenever we gather, talk turns to sustainable living and the financial freedom of going tiny. We sit on each other’s mini-couches and congratulate ourselves for embracing change.
The sun has shifted. Shadows cover the meadow. In a little while, the stunning beauty of a Delta sunset will turn the sky ruby and indigo. I’ll go downstairs, heat some soup, and watch the colors fade. I like it here. From where I sit, thinking and writing, the place looks marvelous, — rust, spiders, and all.
It’s the first day of the seventy-fourth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.