It took nearly four years for us to find the perfect house. As first-time buyers we had a limited budget, big dreams, and lots of nerves. We also had just one car, which meant we had to limit our house hunting to neighborhoods with great public transportation – or coordinate our schedules somehow so that we could carpool downtown together. Neither of us was eager to commute. This was problematic because our ideal house included a bit of land and as few neighbors as possible. Realtor after realtor told us we weren't being realistic, that it simply wasn't possible to marry our love of nature with good public transportation.

Searching MLS inventory for the umpteenth weekend in a row, we happened upon a listing that proposed, "Lose yourself in the lush flora of this secluded South Park canyon home." Hmmm. Seemed worth a look, so we scheduled a viewing. Pulling up to the house, we were unimpressed with the typical '70s track home. If we hadn't had an individual appointment, we would have bailed right then and there. The inside of the house corresponded to the view from the street: typical. I knew the floorplan as soon as we walked in the door. The realtor led us to the back door of the house, and we stepped into the back yard, which was built into the side of one of San Diego's many canyons.

I was not prepared for the spectacular banquet of living scenery that emerged. Trees! Birds! Bushes! Rabbits! Wildflowers! Undeveloped land! Not a person in sight! The canyon ran left and right and was teeming with natural life. All my senses were alive with the smell of eucalyptus trees, the sound of critters going about their critterish lives, the feeling of the canyon breeze pushing my hair away from my face, the many shades of green and yellow and beige and orange coloring the chasm – and the taste of desire running down my throat and into my heart. I shot my husband a look that said, "WE HAVE TO HAVE THIS HOUSE!" He shot me back a look that said, "YES! I KNOW!"

Just then a plane flew overhead and reminded me that we were right off downtown San Diego. Close enough to ride my bike to work! Was this possible? There were neighbors around, but the canyon was the predominant focus and made the smattering of houses along the canyon ledge nearly inconsequential. Let the escrow process begin!

It's been a few years since that fateful day. Living in "the lush flora of this secluded South Park canyon home" – albeit a typical '70s track house – has been a dream come true. I can't imagine having to commute some 30 miles home each day to be able to see a coyote, or an owl, or a snake, or a raccoon. And thanks to the delights of downtown canyon life, I don't have to!

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