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Originally posted to Patreon on March 22, 2021

My Hermit year comes at an opportune time. In eighteen months my parenting agreement with my ex-husband ends with our daughter’s eighteenth birthday. With that resolution comes the freedom to move away from Illinois. This state is fine, great even, but I am not the person I was when I moved here in 1996. Back then I was running away from a place of harm and sadness. Now I find myself wanting to return to that place.

My dreams constantly find me back in Laramie: enrolling in classes, wandering the UWYO campus, looking for housing or a job. There is an ever-present, underlying feeling of unfinished business in those dreams. Clearly, I have unresolved issues stemming from my time there. And over the past few years I’ve found myself aching for my home state in my waking hours.

I miss the mountains and the pine trees, the rock outcroppings and the sagebrush. I miss miles of flat, open space navigated by two-lane blacktop. I want to drive again through the Wind River Canyon and on the switchbacks of Cloud Peak. When I look up at the sky I only want to see clouds.

I’ve been looking at land and making plans. I want to build a castle from cordwood–a proper castle with towers. There will be a two story library with a spiral staircase. There will be animals: goats, chickens, dogs and more. I’ll build a garden based on the one my grandparents had bordered by fruit trees and berry bushes. I’ll learn how to can and fill my pantry with jars upon jars of vegetables and jams.

Two years ago, when I lost my house, this would have been an unattainable dream. Now, though, I feel like it could be possible. I’m reading up on DIY building and reacquainting myself with the politics and news of my home state. Friends from back home are scouting out areas and recommending sites. It’s strange, having the time to think over and plan this future, instead of having to hurriedly react to what is going on around us. I don’t think I have ever had that luxury.

Of all the insights and progress I’ve made during this year of reflection, this dream of Wyoming skies just might be the most important. I have eighteen months to decide what to do about it, how it will fit into my life, and how things might change because of it.

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