I stood in the driveway looking east over the multiple peaks of the roofline. The March breeze in the forest outside of McKenzie Bridge, Oregon was brisk. The air was clean and the view was clear. John and the realtor were walking on the north side of the property above the house, moving through the overgrown brush on the path to the spring.
“Well”, I thought, as I looked beyond the house towards the snow covered peaks of the Three Sisters Mountains, “we could just sell our house in town and move up here ourselves.”
“I already thought of that”, John would tell me later. Every visit he’d made to Aqua Gardens brought a giddy, almost irrational, excitement. “It’s about the water”, he claimed, “We’ve got to keep the water.” But there was definitely more about the property that excited him. The views, the trees, the quiet majesty are mysteriously intoxicating.
Kate and John came back down the hill. “Are they here yet?” John asked. On that day in March, our trip was made to meet an electrician to complete some repairs in preparation for putting the property up for sale. We had invited Kate, a realtor, to meet us while we were there. Kate is a family friend who hadn’t seen the property in years. My sister’s earlier realtor selections had not gone well. Cathy had thrown up her hands and asked me to take over the whole process. Kate was actually the fifth realtor I had talked to about relisting the property.
“Well,” I asked, “do you want to list it?”
“It’s beautiful,” Kate said, “the area seems much more active than I remember.”
My sister had purchased the property in 1993. She has never really fully explained why. “Real Estate is always a good investment, right?” The original house, built in 1973, was a simple Chalet-Style house with an impressive, custom built, two-story fireplace built made with locally sourced river rock. It was a perfect for a vacation home but she already had River Hill House, which was only 15 miles down river in Nimrod.
While Cathy was still trying to figure out a good reason for her purchase, the plumbing had exploded on the upper floor, sending water down through the walls and damaging all of the sheetrock. The pressure in the pipes from the gravity flow spring water system was unregulated, sometimes exceeding 120 psi when not used regularly. So repairs were needed, insurance kicked in, and a monumental 4 year remodel began (well in reality it took 9 years – but I’ll tell that story later).
By the middle of May, we were loading the rental truck for our move upriver and had signed papers to put our house in Eugene up for sale. Kate was the listing agent. We had indeed made the decision to move up river and take on the challenges of 40 acre on the edge of the Willamette National Forest, 50 miles east of Eugene, Oregon.
It all happened so fast, I’m not sure that even God saw it coming.

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