by Jennifer on January 10, 2011

photo credit: chesbayprogram, flickr

So life still has a few surprises. A few months ago, we thought we were moving back to Arizona. We were all ready for that, except that the things that needed to happen first didn’t. Which doesn’t mean I’m not happy with the way things turned out, because (oh, yes) I am.

Instead: We’re settling in to a new place just across the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Where it’s lovely and quiet. Near the water, but rural and quiet. Where it’s dark enough at night that stars crowd the sky. And it’s quiet. (Did I mention that it’s quiet?)

Except for the occasional car. And the geese. We hear them before we see them fly over – a few or hundreds at a time. I love the sound and the sight. Fields full of them as they pick clean what’s left of the corn flattened by the harvest. This, a second harvest.

They must be on their way to somewhere, or maybe they haven’t made up their minds. There’s lots of winter left.

As for us, we love it here.

It scares me to say that, even as I can’t help myself, even as I think it a dozen times a day. Even as I unpack the last of the boxes and see my beloved things (my books!) for the first time in two years. Or longer. Even as I hang pictures on the walls and feel what must be contentment rise up inside me. Even as I watch my children fill this space with their personalities, with their stuff and their fun and their bickering. Even as I watch them become at ease here, and they start to believe that they are home. Yes, as happy as that all is, it’s scary, too.

Because what if it all goes away? What if I can’t hold on to this, for myself? For my children?

I’ve learned that fear. To wait, as I do, for the other shoe to drop. To reach out for something and not feel surprised when it’s yanked away just as I’m about to grab hold. Worse, though, is that my children have learned that, too. So many times when we were about to move somewhere, the plans were changed. The decision, out of my hands and certainly out of theirs.

For years, I’ve been looking for a place to land. The place, the one we would never want to leave. A place where we could stay through enough seasons that memories would have time to take root. (There must be people who like to move, who like the change, but I am not one of them.) I studied real estate listings, and when I came across a house I loved, I could build a whole life around it in my head. In that way, I imagined dozens of different lives. I could see how it would go, how it would all look.

But this place, this is it. The life I see here looks peaceful.  Settled. Rooted. The nearby town is all charm and history. The next closest town meets all our routine shopping needs and has a lovely historic downtown, too. There’s enough to keep us entertained, but with enough stillness and beauty that we can find our own ways to do that for ourselves. There’s a jar on the kitchen counter for loose change – I’m calling that our Kayak Fund. We’re going to want one, with all the water.

We can make a good, honest life here.

It won’t be easy. Life is always messier than a postcard. There are practical concerns that keep me awake some nights, but that would be true anywhere. But it’s all possible. Good things are possible. If I’m hard-wired with a certain amount of fear, I’m also an optimist through and through.

Any instinct I ever had to move on has settled, like a sky full of geese coming to rest in a field. But I’ll leave them to their migration, to their wind and wings and wandering.

I want these roots.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily January 10, 2011 at 10:36 am

I know that feeling well. It’s OK to own it; you won’t jinx it!

Suzanne January 10, 2011 at 10:37 am

First congratulations on your safe, and what sounds delightful, landing.

Second, oh yeah, I understand those fears and that feeling of finally finding home. Here’s a toast to both of us, that our fears are not realized and that we find new and exciting dreams to fill our minds and the year ahead, instead.

Chris January 10, 2011 at 10:42 am

I hope your roots grow deep and strong. I ached for your children when you wrote about their “fear”. But you and your *constant* are their stability. I’m happy for the three of you. Your home sounds like a wonderful place. And quiet. 🙂 Very nice.

V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios January 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

I’d be afraid too. Oh, yes I would.

But through everything, especially this long, crazy transition East, I’ve been so impressed with your stamina and your grace and your sense of humor. You’ve been treading water in rough seas for a while, but somehow you still manage to see the beach.

You and your children have found home and stability in each other, if not in your circumstances. I hope you get to relax and extend that to this new place. I’m going to check on a map and see how far it is from here. I’m looking forward to seeing you again.

Kate Mohler January 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

I don’t blame you for wanting to put down some roots. Arizona is not the place to live these days anyway.

green girl in wisconsin January 10, 2011 at 11:28 am

First, I was just about to double-check my Google Reader because I hadn’t seen a post from you in so long and I was worried! How funny.
Congratulations on a good move. I’m glad you’re rooting down in a good place. A quiet place. A place of healing and communing and creating. I’m rooting for YOU!

Kathryn (@kat1124) January 10, 2011 at 11:59 am

Jennifer, I’m so glad you’ve found a place to call your own. This was a lovely post.

magpie January 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm

that’s a beautiful area. my uncle lives in that general vicinity, with water and farmland all right there. here’s hoping it’s really home.

Jenn @ Juggling Life January 10, 2011 at 7:02 pm

I hope it is everything you want it to be. It sounds lovely.

tysdaddy January 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm

There is peace wherever you are, my friend. Cling to it . . .

flutter January 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I am still mad that I don’t get you 🙁

midlifenatalie January 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm

It sounds like you found the perfect place to land and grow roots. I sometimes wish I could go somewhere different and start over. All of my family is here and I couldn’t take my kids away from them at this point. I think it would be more like running away for me. And that practical stuff you mention. It is ever present with me as well.

Daryl January 11, 2011 at 10:16 am

Excellent .. Maryland is a nice place and it sounds like you found your niche .. I am so glad .. and you’re close enough so maybe just maybe we can get a face to face sometime …

Slow Panic January 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

make it happen. i know you can. can’t wait to visit.

apathy lounge January 16, 2011 at 11:57 am

You will land on your feet wherever you go.

heidi January 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

“Life is messier than a postcard.” Well said. And so true. I hope you get to put down roots, too.

yogurt January 22, 2011 at 12:46 am

You’re settling in the land of my grand-peeps. About 20 minutes from. Please tell me you love steamed blue claws. On a more relevant note, it’s such a relief to read your post. That you’ve landed safely and are feeling “what must be contentment rise up inside.” Beautiful writing, from start to finish.

And the kayak fund? Excellent.

Deb @ San Diego Momma January 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm

I know so exactly how you feel, but you articulated it so much more beautifully.

And your new home sounds lovely. Your road is leading you. Just follow it.


JCK (Motherscribe) February 13, 2011 at 10:01 pm

I’m so happy for you, Jennifer! Wondering how it has been going in the last month.

It especially moved me when you talked about unpacking boxes of your books after 2 years!

Sending good thoughts!

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