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Masonic News & Views - My unintended sabbatical year
November 17, 2013
Greetings Brother,

I hope you are well.

It's hard to believe it's been a year since the Lady BG and I set off on this little adventure of ours. I apologize for my unintended sabbatical from this newsletter. My plan, yes I actually had one, was to continue the weekly mailing of the News & Views during our move, and subsequent settling-in phase, to the Oregon coast. But, as I have discovered over the past year, holding to plans inconsistent with the necessities of life is like throwing your fishing line into the wind. Eventually you just wind up a tangled, twisted-up, bloody mess.

It has been quite an adventure though. Some of it worth sharing; some worth forgetting. I've learned some things. I've made some discoveries along the way. I've been reminded of things big and small. I've felt the world shift as beliefs I once thought were perfect ashlars in a solid foundation crumbled beneath my feet. I've come face to face with the frajility of trust. I've discovered that I have the ability to fly. I've learned to listen to myself without discounting what I hear. And, I've gained a deeper appreciation of the precious gift of friendship.

As it has been so long since last I wrote, perhaps a little recap is in order. It has been a lifelong dream of the Lady BG's to live on the northwest coast, and my dream is to see all her dreams come true. In fact, we came to Missouri in 1999 following our second failed attempt at chasing this dream. So, when we stumbled across this little property advertised on the Internet last summer we both knew it was time to try again. I don't think either of us really expected anything to come of it, but we spun the bottle, the stars aligned, fate (either for our benefit or His entertainment) seemed to guide our steps, and here we are.

The quick clean and spruce that we intended to do on the cottage turned into a year long remodel, restore and rebuild project. We did most of the work ourselves and I learned just how much I didn't know about building. Fortunately though, fate also sent us a carpenter angel in the form of a crotchety old man who could fix anything I messed up. The house is still not complete but we have all the necessities and some comforts, and at last we're living under our own roof.

The place is beautiful. The constant and varying voice of the ocean has proven to be a pleasant companion, a soothing lullaby, and a reminder of the brevity of being. A small creek runs through the property, so indirectly I can stand in our front yard and spit in the ocean. We're surrounded by towering trees of pine and alder. Deer, bears, birds of every color and talent, frogs, squirrels, and all sorts of critters make themselves right at home. And, at this time of year I can count the number of cars that pass by during the day on the fingers of one hand.

It has been a tough year though, as you can probably tell by the before and after photo below. On the left is a photo of me and my trusty travel companion as we set out last November on our second 2,000 mile journey. On the right is a recently taken photo.

The Lady BG says I'm looking a lot better now that the construction work is winding down. I finally had the time to see a dentist and he seems to think we can save the tooth. So, things are good.

But, you might be asking as I sometimes do, is it everything we thought it would be? Is it the dream come true? Sometimes it is, and I think that's more than we can rightfully expect in life.

Was it worth all that we sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, in order to follow this dream? I think the answer to that question still changes from day to day, sometimes several times a day.

Was it the right thing to do? Definitely, yes.

You might also be wondering about my newly discovered ability to fly. Yes it's pretty awesome, but it's not unique. I believe we all possess the ability but it normally takes an event to awaken our awareness of it. For me, that awareness awoke in that picosecond between the near simultaneous and twin realizations that the ladder was no longer beneath me, and what happens next. I said I could fly, not soar.

I'll try to do a better job of keeping in touch in future.

With cordial, affectionate and fraternal regards,

Tim Couch


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