“At a certain point, if you still have your marbles and are not faced with serious financial challenges, you have a chance to put your house in order. It’s a cliché, but it’s underestimated as an analgesic on all levels. Putting your house in order, if you can do it, is one of the most comforting activities, and the benefits of it are incalculable.” (Leonard Cohen, from a profile in October 17, 2016 issue of The New Yorker by editor David Remnick, “Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker.”)
And so, Buck and I have begun. It may take months or it may take years, but we have made a start to putting our house in order for the next season of our lives. Twenty years younger and we wouldn’t consider this radical move. In more than 35 years of adventures together, conceptualizing and bringing to reality our Sanctuary at Longleaf Preserve has been the most amazing and fantastic of all — except of course for that September day in the final quarter of the previous century when we first laid eyes on each other at a professional luncheon in Tampa.
I hope some youngish romantics with dogs and horses and kids or the dream of a vineyard and gardens or some other big, fun dream takes the leap on this astonishing place in the world; a place where owls hoot, wildlife visits, hawks swoop, bright stars can be seen, and wildflowers bloom. Where a bubbling stream sings. Where a person can hear themselves think. And where the very walls are imbued with laughter and love.
Notes about process: Buck and I mulled over the timing, whether it was better to start this Fall or to wait until the Spring of 2017. Were we willing to take the chance that we might be involved in a closing near Christmas? Finally, we made our decision and began our search to find a realtor who we felt would do a great job and be a good fit for us and the property. We interviewed six different realtors and/or realtor teams. I really didn’t know what to expect from the experience and was surprised in a good way. Every one of the folks we met with was impressive. The decision-making process was a lot tougher than either of us thought it would be. When we narrowed it down to the top two agencies, it was almost painful. Each brought many of the same gifts to the table: deep knowledge of the market, impressive track record of success, impeccable reputation, and passion. What finally added a deciding weight to the roughly even scales was this: one candidate was an individual and the other was a team, plus the team demonstrated an unusual nimbleness with technology and social media as well as the highest level of energy and enthusiasm for the project.
Once we decided to put ourselves into the capable hands of Diane Harmon and Preston Murphy of The Harmon Murphy Group, LLC with Keller Williams Gulf Coast Realty, things started to roll. They have proven to be both big picture visionaries and detail-oriented perpetual motion machines. It’s fun to watch them in action.
Buck told me when we first met to keep my seat-belt buckled, because it was going to be a wild ride. At nearly 79, to me he is still the most interesting, exciting, sexiest, and fun man on the planet. And while I’m not eager to rush the future along, it’s going to be exciting to see where we land for the next chapter of our big mushy love story.