"you really need to go look at this farm for sale"
"Dan, we JUST finished our house...we are not moving!"
"seriously-if for no other reason-you need to take a look at the awesome barn...follow me out there"
"mmm...ok, I guess"
Can anyone guess what happened? I'm still not exactly sure myself. Here's the thing about Sycamore Hill...and I don't know that I can convey it correctly in words...but I'll try. You see, I always wanted to have a cabin out in the woods somewhere far outside of town. It seemed that it would balance our living in town if I could just have that little get-away. Fact of the matter is that it was one of three main "dreams" in my life that I had boiled down after going through this great book about dreaming and living. I had three that I wanted to accomplish in no particular order: 1) go out on my own with my own business focused on historic preservation (check), 2) have that little retreat cabin in the woods and 3) transform politics as we know it. I'm counting moving to Sycamore Hill as #2, though last weekend I had scoped out a great place for a cabin on our property near the creek. Dream #3 seems like a pretty crazy-far out goal, but I also can't believe that within 4 years God would have accomplished the first two.
So I followed my buddy Dan out to this place he kept telling me about over coffee that Thursday morning. Something about the place settled deep in my spirit not more than a few minutes on the property. I went home and told my wife as she was standing in the bathroom that I thought I had found "our place in the country" (it was in the exact same location she told me she was pregnant-I just realized that as I was typing). She asked if we could move right in and I said I thought so, and I wanted to take the kids to see it after school. She was concerned enough to sneak out to the farm with a friend and peer in the windows. She came home that afternoon and said that unless something was seriously wrong....let's do it.
So the kids got off the school bus and we headed out to "the hill". The rest was captured in photos from that afternoon. My wife snapped this picture with the sun shining down on me and I often wonder if I look lost or found in it. Two weeks later our offer was accepted and a week later our house went on the market and a week after that we had sold our house in town. This became a pretty major shift in how we saw our future. No looking back.
Several years back I told my wife I had come up with the perfect name for our place in the country-wherever that would be. I've been so inspired over the years in traveling across the Hoosier state and seeing grand old sycamore trees standing sentry along our waterways. I love those trees with their white bark catching the sun. I told my wife if we ever had a place we would call it Sycamore Hill and if it didn't have a sycamore tree...I would just plant one. So imagine the connection that I immediately felt when I saw this ancient sycamore standing vigil on the hill by the pasture, and many of its offspring lining the creek. It felt like God was saying welcome home.
Of course, not everything has gone as planned. There is still a great deal of work to be done, even from the list of work I had planned for the interior of the house in its first year. But we've had a great deal of fun growing into the place. Another interesting aspect is that the man who built the house came to this county in 1834 to build the Michigan Road. Now, 175 years later, I'm working to establish the Michigan Road Byway.
This morning during our regularly scheduled coffee time I mentioned that it was the one year anniversary and Dan asked...."so, how do you feel about it?" I think a lot of that depends on my mood....but even now as I see the snow falling over this piece of natural serenity I don't see how it could be anything but good.