I put my life on hold from 2006 to 2017 to care for my ailing elderly parents. I had a family obligation to honor a Japanese custom of providing care and a safe home for one’s parents. I’m an only child, accepting the facts of the situation that I must take care of my parents. My mother cared for my father 24/7/365 from 1996 to 2006, when she just no longer had the strength to continue. She didn’t ask me to pause my life, relocate, and help because we’re Japanese, and she knew I honored my heritage.
My father passed in 2011, and my mother passed in 2017. Eleven years of full-time caregiving left a void in my life, and I lost direction, purpose, and love while entering a dark abyss lasting two years. The emptiness was filled with dankness, and I had no exit plan—until I discovered a very unique sanctuary in the woods, far from the maddening machinations and stifling congestion of the general population.
I’d deliberated on the pros and cons of moving my cheese into the woods, considering the rurality and remoteness of the Birkenfeld-Mist-Jewell communities nestled on the eastern slopes of the Northern Oregon Coastal Range. I decided to move to the lake when an opportunity arose, unexpectedly, to sell my house in the city. The lake presented an ecosystem to facilitate the process I had chosen for healing myself. All the events that led up to moving to the lake happened as if mandated by fate. I am restoring my health, learning to effect change to the outcome of a given moment or situation, mastering the art of prioritization, and discerning the importance of choosing to survive and thriving over existing.
The healing does not come easy, but it is happening, and it makes me smile. What I accomplish is tempered by the individuality of each season, and it’s futile for me to force my will over the natural tendencies of the lake to effect change. I learned from lessons taught in the woods that each season presents a perspective whose uniqueness, if given free rein, conspires creativity, my gateway to thriving at the lake.
The 2020 Winter term has passed the halfway mark, while the angles of shadows presenting in the woods foretell Spring is on its way. My days differ in degrees of challenges, as in warming up the main cabin level from 48 to 62 degrees or detailing the next provision run. Back in the day, I wouldn’t hesitate driving 40 minutes to the nearest store, but the older I age, the less I want to drive. Some geezers buy a sports car to feel young again, whereas I, instead, desired to return to a country lifestyle (without a township, of course) and free the boy that is still me.
My journey fascinates me as I heal and forge a path towards experiencing Ikigai, a belief held by the Japanese that describes having a purpose in life, a reason for living, a force that creates momentum to aspire wellbeing. July 2020 will usher in twelve months of living in Birkenfeld, and at which time, I will document the first-anniversary appraisal of my quality of life at Fishhawk Lake.
In the meantime, I will scribe my meanderings and ruminations in dispatches from Fishhawk Lake.