Vast Possibilities


When work becomes monotonous I pull out of reality and enter my world of dreams. I've thought about documenting the different fantasies just so I can look back in time and see what materializes.

Recently during work we have been meandering the hills of West Virginia by van and foot, sometimes in soaking wet clothes from a mishap in a swamp or dunk in the creek, sometimes with soggy waders, and always a smile on my face. Our project sponsor Sarah said to me that when we are doing field work it's clear I am in my element and enjoy what I'm doing. It's true! I wish I could spend all my time in mountains, hills, trees and water. Every day this week has involved some time at a body of water: swamp, gorge, creek, rapid, tributary, river. The critters don't bother me much anymore, the wildlife are still magnificent, and the livestock remind me of home.

One day while building wood duck nest boxes, bat boxes and bluebird boxes I drifted into my imagination and wondered how I could live a full life with all the goodness I'm experiencing right now. Our sponsor lives in a great fixer-upper home she recently bought with 13 acres, a barn, garden, chicken, cattle and dogs, and woods down the hill with a creek running through the back of the property. The walk to the creek was comfortable bare footed and the dogs splashed me with water as I sat on a rock in the middle of the waterway playing fetch.

Ah, the future. What do I want?

Sometimes I think an ambitious no-ties lifestyle would suit me best, one where I can roam as I please without worries of my belongings or attachments. Working part-time or seasonal job(s) that cover the necessities for which money is required if I am not living in one place: food, health, and knitting supplies. I could travel during the summer, or between seasons. I could roam for a few years through different countries doing fun work and learn the language and culture. Instead of pursuing a career I could make an effort to die with my brain stuffed full of hands-on knowledge-- become a jack of all trades. I could assist midwives for a while, learn to spin my own yarn, teach dance classes, bicycle across the US, and I could sell my hand made goods at farmers' markets. Do it all and not worry. This of all fantasies is closest to my current lifestyle.

Sometimes I see myself getting a degree in a health or education related field and leaving this country for work. I sometimes imagine joining the peace corps to live in a rural village where community is everything and I am the intruder, and learning to deal with loneliness and learning to learn when I am expected to teach. I want to be humbled by my experiences.

Maybe I could join another AmeriCorps program, perhaps Teach for America or AMUU. I could spend a couple years working in a school and feeling my way through education or testing out my desire to work in a health related occupation...

Sometimes I imagine a family, a child or two and a husband, all living together in happiness with plenty of time to delight in simplicities like personal veggie plots for the kids in the garden and stories read aloud.

Maybe my love and I would buy an old, old house and make it our quest before we start a family to renovate and turn it into our home. Perhaps we would live in town, with ancient trees in the yard, and within walking or bicycle riding distance of the library and in close proximity to friendly neighbors. We could have picnics at the park and spend our Saturday morning at the farmers' market. We could speak multiple languages at home and have a piano, mandolin, and many other instruments. There would be no cable TV, but plenty of talk radio and music. I imagine the children having friends over to play and myself baking breads and desserts all weekend long with my husband at my side. I could host dinner parties and maybe a knitting group.

Maybe we would build our own small cottage on a few acres of land in the country and make ourselves as self sufficient as possible. A few acres (or more, depending on livestock) and low water use. I've been imagining how this could be done... and I think the best thing would be to have a composting toilet and a water-recycling system to send our shower/sink water to the garden. Now say I couldn't get electricity or water to the plot of land on which I would like to live.... solar panels? Wind-mill? How could I harness the earth's power to produce the minimal electricity my home would use? Dig a well which could provide water for our necessities in the house and with the water recycling system it could take care of water for the crops. This is still developing, but I like this idea A LOT. Some chickens, a few goats, a milk cow and a couple steers for meat. Just imagine the bounty and hard work of late fall when one is canning all the summer vegetables to be savored during the cold winter and reaping the benefits of hard labor.

I shall add to these ideas later. Simply ideas.

Here's the quandary I'm in. Actually, two of them. These lifestyles really need a few things, first being money (I'm not rich) so I gotta get a job somehow and support myself, which then kind of cancels my idea of a free lifestyle. Second, all of these things would be best with a partner and some are completely dependent on such a relationship. I know I am happy alone... but could I be (even more) happy committed? What kind of man could fit into these thoughts and what kind of lover would support my eccentric notions? .... Like that one time when I suggested to my roommates that we get rid of toilet paper and use cloth, a hand-held home-made bidet, and a pail...

Turns out I have someone in mind. He's been in my head for so long now and I am madly in love with the person he is.

How is it that I can be so sweet on a man with whom I have no involvement? Why do I find him entering my thoughts so frequently and at the strangest times only to remember that despite my longing to be together, to my knowledge he is not aware of my feelings for him? He has been sneaking into my journal entries for many, many moons and the more I learn about him the more I am convinced we are equivalents of each other in opposite sex form. Our partnership would be praised with fortune from the gods.

*Never mind my silly, secret yearnings to be with you. Someday, maybe someday.

Ha. My imagination.


  1. Wow mandy! You are amazing. I wish I could have the life you do. You are truly an inspiration. All of your ideas sound so amazing and fulfilling. I love you!

  2. I have it, Mandy! You need to become a writer. Freedom + Money. Go for it. You can make your dreams come true. Seriously. Love you, Holly

  3. The other Amanda in Utah says....I know who he is....

  4. Mandy! I agree with Holly and I love the idea of seeing how cute your kids will be! I love how you articulate your thoughts. I always joke with Catherine that we can run away to an Amish community maybe you could live there?


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