Tuesday I paid a visit to the Palisades. I longed to be back in the place I love so much. I visited the Palisades Charter High School's CERT class, then took a stroll around town, and also walked along Asilomar Bluffs. I don't think I could have picked a more lovely day to visit. It had rained the night before, and the air was so fresh and the ocean sparkling blue. It was nice to be back, and yet I already had this sense of being a stranger, an outsider.
I was going to go to the PPCC meeting this week, but decided to skip it. It would hurt too much to no longer feel a part of things anymore. Perhaps this feeling of being "outside" is a defense mechanism to protect myself against the grief or perhaps a door has really closed, and it's time to move on. It may be that for the moment the door is closed, but it will reopen in the future. I can't tell. However, for now I will just let go and make the best of where I am.
Already the loneliness of being in Van Nuys has set in. It is true that I was very alone in the Palisades sitting in the house, but then I would take a walk and meet up with someone who knew me by name. We would talk about the news around town, or I could always visit the bluffs. However, here it is not that way. Most people are at work, speak Spanish, and my daily walk I take is to the post office rather than the breathtaking view of the Pacific coastline. It just doesn't have the vibrant community feel of the Palisades. Count yourself lucky you live where you live.
Prior to leaving the Palisades, the Little Free Library organization gave me a gift. They were aware I was going to do some house sitting, and I told them I would like a mobile Little Free Library made out of a Wisconsin cranberry box. With the homeowner's permission, my plan was to put it outside of where I house sat as a kind of market test. It occurred to me that future clients might be like-minded folks who read my blog and would happily wish to take part. Therefore, the Little Free Library organization sent one free of charge in appreciation for all my efforts in promoting them. I figured a mobile Little Free Library would be a powerful marketing device. If neighbors liked it, then when I left--surely someone on the block would invest in a permanent one. It was a stroke of brilliance.
My dream has always been to have a Little Free Library in front of my house, and this would have been the closest I could get. My family would not have been keen to have one, so I knew if I were to have one, it would have to be somewhere else. Already two will be going up close by my family's residence on El Medio and Wildomar, but that would not have been the same as having my very own.
So just now it occurred to me that I could begin my market test here in Van Nuys before depression sets in. As I said in my post about the Little Free Library, these book exchanges are a great remedy for this isolating modern world, so I figure why not give it a go? I would be fulfilling my dream and perhaps transforming this neighborhood at the same time. I might even make a whole new set of friends along the way. Who can tell?
My husband has been wanting to build one. He's an artist, and as any artist, he must make one out of his own vision rather than purchase one. However, he is so busy and never gets around to it. So in the meantime, I can begin with this mobile one, and maybe it will inspire him to focus on building a permanent unit. Then I can take the mobile one with me should future house sitting ventures arise.
So I guess my dream will be coming true. Tomorrow I will have a Little Free Library in front of my own house. My prayer is that this little wooden structure will change my relationship to Van Nuys. Many of my neighbors are shutdown, crabby recluses. Maybe they will begin to come out of their houses and become friendlier. I guess I'll never know unless I try. It's time to plant my seed here in Van Nuys. I hope it's fertile ground. Wish me luck.
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For my long-term live-in house sitting service, please feel free to download my digital business card. I gratefully welcome referrals.