Accruing Wealth

I got in touch with the depth of the grief today about cutting the connection with the land we had owned in California. I had been feeling in something of a daze the last few days since escrow closed, and I knew in vague terms that it was about the land belonging to somebody else now. I was thinking that it’s not mine anymore, and that I have no more connection to it, other than my memories. A friend pointed out that there’s actually still more going on than that, and that it would be a good idea to catalog the wealth that did accrue while there.

We owned 49 acres and our parcel was part of a 1200 acre subdivision in a canyon that had redwood and doug fir on the north side and many varieties of oak, madrone, buckeye and bay on the south. There was a 10 acre lake in the center of the subdivision that was community property for everyone to enjoy. The water was always cool and fresh even through the long, hot, dry summers.

We lived off the grid.

My wife and I bought and developed the land, designed our house and had it built. Neither of us had owned property before and it truly was our dream house. We moved there when our oldest was not quite two and a half. Sixteen months later, our second son was born in a hot tub in the living room.

It was a tremendous sanctuary for us, with beautiful nature just outside our front door. It was a great place to work outdoors and to introduce our boys to nature. It was a perfect balance and compliment to the therapy practice I did in town. We had fabulous parties, hosted weekend festivals, and I did lots of focused spiritual practice in the shrine room. Since we moved to Portland, we have felt at times like we were coming off a six and a half year retreat.

In California I was president of the property owners association for five years. I kept the peace in the neighborhood and kept the roads in good driving condition. I had done that at a previous ranch I’d lived on before-organizing crews to replace culverts and fix hillsides falling onto the roads after winter floods. It’s a strong value I have; to show up and represent in the neighborhood. I suspect I’m going to do that once we get settled in our new place in Portland, as well.

The land we left is part of my legacy. There was real heart and sweat and tears poured into developing that house and land. There was wealth accrued above and beyond the monetary compensation we got for the property. This is wealth that accrues for all of us, when we invest our hearts into land, into music and art, into our families and friends, into our communities. During these times, while we’re watching our portfolios slip and bank accounts diminish, it’s important to catalogue the other kinds of wealth we possess. Not only will we feel richer for it, but I think we will also be happier.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 16th, 2010 at 4:29 pm and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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