Mid-day in the arctic, as I was walking down our access trail, I heard a resounding THUD from behind me.
Then a groan.
Sean wiped out on a piece of muddy plywood, right on his tailbone. Ouch!
My instinct was to chuckle, ONLY because the same darn thing had happened to me just days earlier. What a mess! (Note: Sean is fine!)
At that point, we’d tried so many different solutions to patch together a workable access trail. When the permafrost is exposed without the tundra above, it melts and it's unstoppable. Likewise, tundra is important because it insulates and protects the frozen layer. The definition of an access trail is moving over tundra, so this is a natural obstacle. In the bottom photo below, Sean holds a chunk of ice we dug out from a few inches beneath the tundra as we were selecting the sites for the cabins — literally, a hunk of ice from a mass that can exist as deep as 2,000 feet beneath the surface!
With an abundance of water running down the hillside (which leads to mud) and so many trips back and forth hauling in materials (which also leads to mud), we created a bit of a (no surprise here) muddy mess.
As we start to really put some effort toward raising our guest cabins over the next few weeks, we knew it: There was no more time to waste stuck in the mud. That slick old piece of plywood did us a favor — it was our swift kick in Sean’s you-know-what, telling us to get to work.
We spent the next day and a half building a corduroy road of logs — which is how people have built solid roads in wild muddy places for a long time. Sean had gotten this tip from a few friends here in the village, and we didn’t need to research much before we knew exactly what to do.
The first time we drove the wheeler up the hill, over the log-laden access trail with a full load without having to stop and either hand-haul things up piece by piece, or winch from a tree felt SO GOOD. In that moment, so much gratitude washed over me… and with every trip up with materials from then on, I think every time of how grateful I truly am.
So then, why do we wait until we fall on our tush before doing something that we know will be good for us?
Instead we go through all that toil and trouble before we finally realize there’s a better way. How can we prevent injury and dis-ease sooner? This is where my current motto comes in handy:
What are you NOT seeing because you're seeing what you ARE seeing?
Read that again, just to make sure you get it.
2020 continues to ask us to pivot. To invent. To shift. To close. To open. To stand still and wait. To move forward at lightning speed. It’s like a big game of Simon Says, isn’t it? And right about now, we’re all pretty tired of playing.
What I’ve noticed (more easily because the tidal waves of change come so quickly!) is that when I’m open to seeing a different perspective without my own preconceived notions getting in the way, I more easily see a better way to walk.
Simply put: I listen. Like really LISTEN, without thinking of my response in my head.
When I consider someone else's perspective, I get to see my blind spots. I get to see a way forward I’d never considered before. And then I usually think, “Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”
Because life isn’t rocket science. (Rocket Science is rocket science.) And when it seems hard, there’s always a path of least resistance available. But if we can’t see Easier Street because we’re seeing Destruction Drive, then we can’t see Easier Street. Period. And we stay stuck — not even knowing Easier Street is out there. Destruction Drive even looks appealing in some ways without anything to compare it to.
And yet, Easier Street is RIGHT. THERE.
When I really feel stuck and need to listen? I turn to yoga. Every time, my meditation practice grounds me and gives me insight… every time, my physical practice leaves me feeling refreshed and accomplished. And we have SO MANY opportunities coming up to join us... I hope you do.
In light and mud,
Originally hailing from Wisconsin, Mollie is a cheesehead transplant to Northwest Montana, with degrees in Retail and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Today, she lives off the grid, half the year in a Tiny House & half the year in a yurt — both of which she and her husband, Sean, built by hand. Nonprofit Executive Director by day, Mollie also owns and teaches at Yoga Hive — a chain of community yoga studios in the valley.