I walked outside this morning to take a picture of the yurt foundation my talented builders, Lonnie, Randy and Luis, erected yesterday. My dream of building a retreat on this property started last fall and many changes have occurred on the land since then. For some reason, seeing the yurt go up is more significant than all the other projects we have done. Maybe this is due to its exotic nature…or perhaps my fond associations with yurts.
The first time I saw a yurt I was in Oregon. I was taking a solo road trip from Seattle to San Francisco, camping along the coast. When I crossed the border into Oregon, I fell back in time. I pulled into a gas station and the attendant came outside and offered to pump my gas. Not knowing any better, I said, “That’s okay, I’m used to doing it myself.” Smiling, he said, “Sorry, Lady, I have to pump your gas, it’s the law.” Gas attendants! Just like in the days of my youth! He even washed my windshield!
Driving along the Pacific I pulled into a beach park and there I saw the yurts…delightful tiny round houses made of wood with cots built into them, a chair and lamp, wall heater and shuttered windows. Outside, on the tiny deck, was a hibachi grill and in the “yard” a fire pit. As I rested in a lawn chair looking out to sea I thought, “I could live here.”
A few years later, I was at Esalen Institute in Big Sur where yurts abound. There is even a staff housing development called “New Yurt City.” The yurts at Esalen are in all sizes. Most of the yurts are tucked into the woods but one, Porters Yurt, sits high on the cliff overlooking the ocean.
When I decided to create a retreat, Porter’s Yurt was my prototype for a group meeting space. It is just the right size for a medium-sized crowd (30 feet diameter/706 sq. ft.) and it has a nice combo porch and storage room, which is perfect for storing yoga equipment and massage tables.
The support beams and floor joists are built. They form a perfect circle of wood that sits between two huge oak trees. As I walked around and took pictures to record our progress, something inside me said, “This is real! This is happening!”
Then came the ever-present follow-up question, “What’s next?”