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In the June Summer House Soaps newsletter, I wrote about my intention to convert our backyard shed into a little retreat where I could sleep outside to the sound of crickets. Publically declaring a goal is said to be a powerful motivator. I promised to post my progress on this blog.

So here is my end-of-summer report on my little house project:

I’ve done zip, nada, not one thing.

I guess I overestimated the power of publically-stated intentions, and underestimated how busy June, July, and August would be. Oh well.

But here’s the thing. I have been sleeping outside to the sound of crickets.

During the meteor showers in early August and on several subsequent nights, I pulled an air mattress, sleeping bag, and pillow onto the second floor deck out back. There, I slept not only to the sound of crickets but the rasping of katydids and the yodeling of coyotes. I didn’t see a lot of comets, but looked up into the milky way and tracked the moon as it moved across the sky.

It was better than my fantasy cabin. I felt nested and protected, but no structure stood between me and the night. In the morning when I woke all damp with dew, I was surrounded by nothing but blue sky, green waving treetops, and the occasional gull soaring through the vastness.

So delicious.

There’s a lesson in this. Sometimes what we actually want is much simpler and closer at hand than we think. We don’t have to bundle it into a big project that makes it all-but-unattainable, or at least very costly in terms of time, effort, and money.

Maybe we think a wilderness trip or a cabin in the woods would give us a feeling of immersion in nature, and no doubt those would be grand things to do.

But sometimes it’s available, a few steps away, up on the roof.