You Mean We Can Leave the Home Lot?


Is he trying to tell me something?

I took Chandler’s first masterpiece, the mountain landscape, as a sign that it was finally time to respond to his Outdoor Enthusiast aspiration.

Sugar, who’d been up gardening all night, dragged herself inside to experience first-hand the type of restful sleep we can only get in the mountains.

Doug Fir was itching to checking out the computer in the cabin–they’d called ahead to make sure they had WiFi here, and Doug had planned to use this time to do a little hacking.

Tamarind was just eager to take in the sights. As an art lover, she found inspiration everywhere she looked.

“This atmosphere is thinner!” said onezero. “I can almost breathe freely!”

“Is that a woodpecker?” asked Salix, looking up to the top of the Jeffrey pine.

“This just feels great, doesn’t it, honey?” said Chandler.


A rare sight: The entire Bough family at a lot other than Cradle Rock.

“Do you think the trees feel sad,” asked onezero, “when they look down on the bodies of their brothers and sisters that were used to make this house?”

“I don’t know,” said Tam. “I never thought about where all this lumber came from before.”


Doug Fir was too busy concentrating to wonder about the feelings of his namesakes.

The older generation spent a lot of time at the row of easels out at the side of the lot. Both Salix and Sugar are now working on the painter aspiration. They haven’t yet found their individual styles, but they’re enjoying exploring the techniques.

Chandler, art lover that he is, just paints for fun.


I love Chandler’s panache.

Strolling down the paths surrounding the cabins, Tamarind noticed so many sounds, scents, sights, and textures to take in. Even the air tasted different–is that little tang from tiny molecules of pine resin?


“I don’t think that guy in the bear costume has anyone fooled. Hey! I wonder where you can get a costume like that?”

Tamarind met a few guys. She’s at the pre-spousal stage where we introduce her to every guy we meet, just to see who it is that she might like.

I’ve noticed that the Bough female heirs are not in any hurry for romance. All the way back to Cedar, they’ve taken their time finding love. They enjoy the first stages of young adulthood on their own, with no claims on their hearts and few family responsibilities. It’s a wise approach, for once they meet the man to become the father of their children, the rest of their lives focuses, first, on the duties of being heir. So let them take some time for themselves before all that begins.

Still, they’re happy to meet new people, for you never know when they’ll meet the one with the right combination of the indescribable.


“What do you say? I’m a genius, and I’ve got shoulders!”

The curly-haired mailman happened to be there on vacation. I really like him: art-lover, romantic, active.

He seems to really like Tamarind.


She seems to be wondering if he’s her type.

“It’s kind of a coincidence to meet you here,” he said.

“Is it?” she asked. “I thought mailmen knew everything. Like when people on their routes were taking vacations. And where.”


“You sure you’re not stalking me?”

While Tamarind wandered the paths, meeting friends from home and making new friends from here, Chandler relished the mountain vacation experience.

His yoga practice has really helped his physique: side plank does wonders for core and upper body strength.


“Food somehow tastes better up here!”

Every time I check in on him, he’s got this huge grin. He’s just so happy to be up at the mountains.



The first afternoon, he ran through the area finding all the wild plants he could, and before he knew it, he’d knocked off one of the aspiration tasks.

Early the next morning, before anyone else was up, he ran down to the creek to fish.


“The morning air!”

He loved it, and he skilled up pretty quickly and was able to complete the fishing-at-Granite-Falls aspiration task, too.


“I like the silence.”

I felt glad that we could do something just for Chandler, even if he had to wait until his elder years to come here.


“So happy!”

The rest of the Boughs have been enjoying family time.

“Up there,” said Salix. “That’s the planet where I was taken the time they came for me. Is that where the 1,000 mommies are?”

“That’s the cousins’ planet,” said onezero. “The mommies planet is elsewhere.”


Doug Fir, too, looked up at the stars, though he preferred not to lie on the wet ground. It’s a little dirty.

Sugar Maple was full of joy that the family could just be together. She knows how it works–you turn around and everything changes. Somebody’s met Grim, someone else has moved out, someone else moves in, someone new is born.

So, she’s learned well the art of appreciating the configuration of the present moment.

And this present moment felt full, complete, and rich beyond measure.


“I love my family.”

“Are you having a good time, son?” Salix asked Doug.

“Not exactly,” he replied. “Have you noticed that it smells like mildew inside? And out here… well. It’s pretty green, right? I’m not really used to green.”

Doug Fir

“I wouldn’t mind a paved road I could walk down, you know? I don’t know why there has to be dirt everywhere.”

onezero, who could breathe more easily at this mountain altitude and who always heard the subtle shifts in the forest communication racing along the fungal rhizomes, felt very much at home here.


“The trees sound just like the 1,000 mommies.”

“I’m glad you’re here, brother,” she said. “It may not be your idea of vacation, but if you weren’t here, none of us would have such a good time. When we’re home, you’ll forget about the scent of mildew. But I will always remember this time together with all of us.”


It’s hard to keep complaining when your little sister loves you.

Tamarind, who seems to be causing the game engine to throw broad-shouldered men in her path, ran into the male maid she’d met the other day. It’s seemed a little odd to her that a squeamish man would choose to vacation in Granite Falls, but she did think he looked fine in his clothing from REI.

“Word had it that your family was here,” he said. “I had a few days off coming. I was kind hoping I might run into you.”

I’ve started watching the physical space between Sims as an indication of their feelings toward each other. Tam is keeping a generous distance.


“I don’t bite, you know. Unless, of course… Never mind.”

“I can hardly wait until we go home tomorrow,” Doug told his mom on the last day of vacation. “I need literature! Art! Music! There’s none of that here. I feel like I’m living in a desert.”

“Son,” said Salix, “do you forget that Oasis Springs is a desert? Besides, this cabin has bookshelves full of books, and a few stereos, and we’ve already completed about twelve paintings, between all of us.”

“The books all smell like mildew,” he said. “And the Internet is so slow.”

“Look, Doug,” Salix said, “Before you know it, you’ll complete your aspiration, and you’ll move into the mansion across the street.”

“But I’ll still see you everyday.”

“Sure,” she replied. “But it won’t be the same. You’ll see. So let’s just enjoy this last day of vacation. Think of it as one of the last times we’re all together, as a family, just the six of us.”


“You’ll be living with Mesquite’s ghost!”