There’s an expression some of my friends around here have been using recently – “Because Asheville.”
I like it because, in only two words, it explains what is completely unexplainable about life in our town.
Like the unexpected magical randomness of walking down an alley and finding a scattering of yellow flower petals next to a door that says “Imagine Inventing Yellow.”
Or, discovering a mini galaxy hovering over a collection of antique bottles in the window of an old building
in a dark alley.
There are many happenings and serendipitous occurrences I could give you to illuminate the meaning of “because Asheville.”
Here’s one closer to the heart –
It’s likely I would not have met Tom had I not purchased the house I am currently living in, the house I affectionately call “casa mia” –
– just because it’s mine – even though I am living in Appalachia and there is nothing even remotely Italian about the house (or me, for that matter.) I just like the way it sounds.
I would not have met Tom because I would not have met Jo, a German rugby-playing architect turned landscape gardener for the Methodist missionaries who works across the street from casa mia.
And I would not have bought casa mia
had it not been for yoga.
Ten years ago, the kids and I picked our first home in Asheville for its views –
a little ranch house, perched on an acre of hillside
overlooking a lake, a bird sanctuary, and the mountains.
Much as I loved it, after the kids had graduated and loved on, I decided I wanted to move closer into town. I soon found – and lost my heart to – an old Dutch barn style house in a funky little neighborhood, just blocks from downtown.
The realtors told me I couldn’t buy it because a contingent contract was not permitted. But I was in love and already living there, at least in my head.
I began stalking the house.
I detoured all of my trips into town so I could drive past it and gaze at it longingly. It was so charming, I worried, surely it would sell before I could unload my current house in an uncertain real estate market.
Several days after I first saw the house, I walked into my local yoga studio. Ninety minutes later, lying on my mat in a post-Ashtanga state of savasana, a thought came into my somewhat blissed out head.
The heck with the realtors, I thought happily –
why not just knock on the door and ask the owners if I could buy their house? At the time, it seemed like an entirely rational idea.
Within moments, I was on their front door-step, disheveled, sweaty and still wearing yoga clothes. I told them I was passionately in love with their house and felt inexplicably drawn to live there. And then I offered them their asking price.
The owners – a heavily tattooed Frenchman and his American wife – said okay.
As simply as that.
But, of course, it wasn’t that simple.
I arranged to pay them monthly not to sell it to anyone else while my realtor and I energetically worked to sell my house up by the lake. Seventy-two showings and seven months later – two years ago this week – there we were, sitting at the settlement table.
And then, an hour later, the little Dutch barn house was mine.
The next spring, while working in the front yard, I met Jo – the German rugby-playing architect and landscape gardener.
Who introduced me to Tom.