With time, a conventional measure of the seasons, with the deadline of winter slowly creeping closer from beyond the heatwave, I inhabit a constantly temporary state in space and time. It appears to me that it’s a normal state of being in spite of all the other conventions society imposes on the unsuspecting individual these days. Any state is temporary, any space is temporary – depending on your reference point, of course.
My current temporarily permanent residence used to be a semi-trailer, and it certainly has a story to tell in all the scuffs and dents it now permanently bears. The truck that pulls it has about as many miles on board as could encircle the Equator, now it pulls a man-made, mobile, modified, home, not yet finished, settled in a temporary spot on the edge of the train tracks. The clothes I wear fit in a small suitcase because everything else I own is packed away in boxes that I haven’t unpacked in two months. I am waiting for my permanent permanent residence to be finished in order to unpack them. Everything is in a waiting state for that moment when I can move my belongings into their new home. My art supplies (which make up the majority of these belongings) are unusable because I’ve dedicated my time to creating a home for them. I now have solar panels, batteries, a large generator, all massive homeless objects, but in use nonetheless, all placed around the trailer in temporary spots, on pallets, surrounded by a mess of wires, next to torches and welders strewn about as needed, tripping over large coils of cable…
I’m sitting on a bench I made out of a pallet about a week ago. It matches the temporary porch that supports it, which is also made out of pallets and topped with loose plywood. I use a regular ladder to climb up here and rest in the shade, which is provided by a painters’ drop-cloth stretched on woven rope, screwed to the trailer at the top, and hooked around a piece of rebar buried in the ground, among the flowers, at the other end.
The grass and the yellow flowers that grow over there used to be mowed regularly, but now that we’re here, they were allowed to grow, and they feed hundreds of bees a day. The blocks of concrete right by the tracks would have probably never seen a garden, yet now they support 20 square feet of dirt that nourish three tomato plants and a few hundred wild flowers that I planted. Talk about making a change in the world… does this count if it’s just temporary? Where is the line in time when it no longer counts?
Building a tiny house and wishing to live off the grid in itself is a rejection of those conventions we must all abide by. I will not live in an apartment or rent a house from someone else. I will also not be homeless, which is usually the only alternative. I will not work every day in a job I hate to pay rent or the mortgage. Living in a tiny house will allow me to survive as an artist, focused on my work, relying on temporary (self) employment – or income from selling work – to eat. And I’m okay with that.
Looking back, everything is temporary. Why should I expect anything to be permanent in the future… apart from the seasons and the sunrise?