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.