I’m in the midst of a move, relocating after a 15-year sojourn in a cabin at a spring in a leafy canyon, midway down the Virginia Range’s east slope, in American Flat. The Comstock’s current mining project here has surpassed our level of tolerance, and our life in paradise is drawing to a close.
The new shop/living space is smaller than the cabin, but it’s not drafty or half-insulated.
The water system is also quite a change from the cabin’s, which requires snaking pipes, extricating frog corpses from various places, and laboriously lifting soggy fallen leaves from the pond.
I won’t miss the variable shower, which depends on a cranky pressure tank that refuses to keep a steady flow. Nor the terrifying spring floods that flow through the front yard, either.
I’m thinking about what we’ve accomplished in the six months we’ve owned this Silver City property.
My husband decided to owner-build our small project, relying on contractors and other people he came to know during his working career and as a volunteer fireman.
The project is going well, although timing the relentless rush of events requires constant attention.
He’s good at making things happen, and I’m glad the remaining time is short. And, the correlation between activity and improved health that’s happening for both of us is great.
Today, amidst a jumble of small stuff yet to be packed, I’m feeling grateful for the younger folks in the extended family who’ve been moving the heavy stuff for two days, and the long-time, dear friends, who live just across the small canyon through Silver City, who’ve given us excellent food and company after a long, hot day of far more activity for far longer than usual.
I’m also vividly aware of all that we’re losing. Water and trees enrich our lives in countless ways, with sounds: leaves clapping and branches swaying (or thrashing) in the wind, the endless conversation of spring water chattering itself into a pond, and the toots and clatter of weekend V&T railroad tours. And views: splendid, wild mountains all around, north and west, and south.
I’ve accepted the miners (who now own the east view) replaced our chicken setup/enclosed garden complex with a ponderous trench, and their huge and growing heap leach that blocked a dark nighttime view of Dayton Valley, just as long ago I accepted ranchers stopped bringing sheep to the Flats to drink and graze en route to higher pastures, and the Peruvian sheepherder’s curved-top camper no longer silhouettes on the sky.
I’m beginning to count the positives in our new place.
For one thing, the shower is a constant stream with steady pressure; in my first one I laughed out loud with delight!
I’m renewing my experience of the wild mountains surrounding Silver City.
All in all, it’s good to leave. Life is just too short to linger in the past.
Susan Stornetta is a retired archaeologist and a long-time Comstock resident.