landfatuation: travel home

A new term I’ve discovered, not yet in my English dictionary.

Land and infatuation…”Landfatuation”: the description of awe, wonder and anticipation at a piece of raw land and all that it can become.

Directly ahead of me is a young Douglas fir. To the right, a more established cedar. This is the western region of the Kootenay Mountains in southern British Columbia.

June 2015 126

A hundred feet below is a blue green river, placid most of the day, reflecting the mountainous carpet of fir and cedar and occasional poplars dappled on the other side. There must be an oil painting of this somewhere. Slightly moving ripples are heading towards the dam a mile downstream. The locks have been opened and the water will rise or fall with the flip of a switch. This is why the Kokanee can be called a river but often acts as a lake.

To the west, just a hundred feet from the embankment of this lakefront, is an island. Once named Pig Island as someone once corralled pigs there. A century ago, a Creston native tribe would travel to catch salmon on this island every autumn. The salmon have been diverted, despite the remaining name of the river, Kokanee. The natives did not travel to our side as they deemed it spiritual land. There is indeed something magical about it.

June 2015 108

Just days ago, a lone kayaking couple stopped and made camp on the island. Fitted with a boat landing area and fire pit and mature Douglas fir protecting its eastern edge, it is ideal for human use. Yesterday the kids and I canoed over to splash in the icy cove, bums burning in the open spots of blow up floaties. Still, they played. I watched from the comfort of my book. We decided a more romantic, and appropriate name would be required of this island. Goose Island, or Isle de Goose, as a flock finds their way to nest every spring. Or Isle de Saskatoon as there are an abundance.

June 2015 107

I sit on a ledge of our land, my folding lawn chair propped by shards of rock, scattered dry tree limbs and mossy, pine needle soil as my feet dangle below. To the west I see our outdoor kitchen. A roughly hewned fire pit. Out of rocks and trees roots and soil, we layered sand and rocks and created a grill. Over two tree stumps, we laid four feet smooth chopped trees to create a table for food and a dishwashing station.

To the east, high on a leveled spot, we will build our home. Not in the pioneer, log cabin way. Rather, the one and a half storey grandmother turned European villa, complete with dishwasher and induction cooking. The days of 500 sq feet, off grid notions disappeared when my eldest entered adolescence. In twelve years, when the small farm is fully established, and the last child has flown the coop, but the chicken coop is full, we’ll decide how we use all that extra bedroom space. Our bed and breakfast days will begin, or we’ll have ample space for hobby rooms.

June 2015 131

When the children and daddy have gone into town, I walk the land. The quiet is as sweet as the unpolluted air. I am at ease. I commune with the whistling birds. A symphony of bird noises, as loud and rapturous as the first morning I awoke in my mountainous Kenyan home. To prevent me from feeling entirely alone, the highway sits atop the mountain across the lake, occasional planes fly overhead, and the train toots its whistle at 9 and 3 every day, reminding me that I am surrounded with others, yet set apart to my own musings.

How else to describe the feelings about this land, but with my new word: I am landfatuated.

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