RetreatsStories

Confession

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I have a confession to make: I’ve been lying to you.

Don’t fret too much. Breathe. It’s going to be OK. We’re not breaking up. This isn’t where I admit to having an affair on you with a comic book readership or admit to living a double life as a political columnist/astrologist hybrid. No. But a lie is still a lie, and I’m here to come clean.

A number of weeks ago, I wrote about visiting my friend’s cabin because I wanted to get back to nature. Well, the cabin is actually more of a house. And the house was not really inhabited by a friend but rather for sale. And I bought it.

And now I’m terrified. For so long, I have said I want to go back to nature. I’ve said that I am tired of living in the city and want to head into the country — to give my children a rural existence. But now…

It’s all my brother’s fault. When I told him about the snake in the basement that slithered toward me and my toddler — making known that we were in its territory — my brother said he would never come visit. When I told my brother about the baby chipmunk that, upon closer inspection, was actually a decapitated chipmunk, my brother said I was crazy for considering this move. When I told him of the bugs and the spiders and the ticks and the enormous snakes and the big cats, he said, “I don’t think you’re the person you think you are.”

Excuse me? I’m not the person I think I am? Of course I am!

So I put an offer on the house. They accepted. And I began to hyperventilate. I don’t think I’m the person I think I am. Maybe if I didn’t have kids and, you know, a desire to live.

The snakes and decapitated baby chipmunks and creepy-crawlies had me questioning my sanity as we signed escrow papers. But since then, it has gotten worse — so much worse.

The home is on a lake and has a creek going through the yard. It backs 800 acres of woods. When I bought the home, I thought it would be the perfect place to find serenity. Now I fear it might be the perfect place for a Jason movie — the killer animal version. Sweet bobcats and squirrels running around in hockey masks.

Twenty minutes away, city officials wrangled a 7-foot alligator that was crossing a street, headed toward the local shopping center. “How did the alligator get there?” people wondered. There aren’t supposed to be alligators in these parts. Officials just shrugged and said animals can get where they want to get. Stay away from creeks and bodies of water if you’re scared.

Yeah, sure. Thanks a lot.

Then, last week, a contractor doing some work on the house pulled up to find a deer lying dead on the driveway. He dragged it into the woods next to the home.

Does anyone have a paper bag? Just thinking about it is making me hyperventilate again.

Why did I think I could do this? Why am I moving my family across the country to be slaughtered by a hockey mask-wearing, venomous snake-toting deer? I have visions of my toddler playing tug of war with a black bear. Visions of my 8-month-old making a flower crown of black widows. My son riding a bobcat bareback. My daughter using rattlesnakes as water skis.

I said I wanted this. I said I wanted this. I said I wanted this. Am I nuts?

Friday was my last day of work. When I picked my son up from preschool, he asked, full of excitement, “Are we going to the snake house now?”

Not yet. But soon. We have packing to do and a cross-country trek to make and a lifestyle to change. And I remembered that along with the scary comes a new adventure. More time with my kids. More time to write. A slower pace in a magical place. And along with the bugs will be fireflies.

I may not be who I think I am. But I’m trying to be. And I promise to be honest with you about the journey.

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