Sunday, March 23, 2014

"That Mood" (or, Moving Is Hard)

Blogging is difficult for me when I’m in this mood. You know the mood— the feeling of paralysis in the face of a million things to do (I can’t do everything, so I will do nothing), the listlessness despite having a list, the loneliness overruled by a desire to not interact with anyone— it’s not a good place to be. I don’t know quite how I landed in this mood, although I suspect is it a combination of poor diet along with the stress of getting ready to move. I really, really don’t like moving. It’s not just the packing or the logistic-working (which I also hate), it’s the change. I don’t like change. I especially do not like changing houses. The moves my family made when I was a teenager were always for negative reasons (they’re bulldozing our neighborhood; our landlord was foreclosed; we can’t afford the rent), and I never had a positive move until I ended up here, in this townhouse on Nathan Street. 

Here I moved with Zachary when we got married. We slowly collected furniture, unpacked boxes, tried to make the house into a home. Here we kept our first Christmas tree, which stayed green until literally the week before Easter even though I didn’t water it after January. Here I learned what it means to be a newlywed housewife: how to keep track of the contents of a refrigerator, how to keep the bathroom from spawning mold, how to find the balance between getting the dishes done and just relaxing. Here we spent a glorious year and five months of marriage, watching the seasons change, watching our friendship grow. Listening to the neighbor girls who climbed onto our back porch and sang karaoke with a fake microphone. Swapping food and conversation with our neighbor Linda. Holing up in the sunlit bedroom during the winter, camping out in the “refrigerator room” in summer. Watching neighbor kids play with sharp broken pieces of kitchen chairs and chase around the mangy six-toed cats that roam the neighborhood. Feeling transported back to the 70’s every time I saw my matching avocado-colored refrigerator and oven. Watching a woodchuck nibble on clover in our backyard. Hosting our gypsy friends, our sister, our brothers, sometimes for weeks at a time. Living life as a couple, as one person.

And always, hanging over our heads, the knowledge that we were going to leave. 

I knew this day was coming. I knew it would be very exciting. I knew that I would be so eager to get on the trail I could hardly stand it. And I also knew it would be very hard. And so it is. So when I feel in “that mood,” when things seem overwhelming and I feel the weight of change and evanescence weighing down my shoulders, I just remind myself that this is part of the plan. I knew that, if we succeeded in setting out for the Pacific Crest Trail, I would have to give up the comfort and security of this beautiful little townhouse.

And now I am. This is the last week we will live here. A lot of our stuff is already in boxes, and now I don’t know what to pack next. We’re moving into my parents’ house for about three weeks until we leave for the trail.

It’s hard to think about these things, and even harder to write about them. But it’s therapeutic, somehow. Writing these things down makes me remember that everyone has been through something like this before. Everyone feels in “that mood” sometimes. Life goes on. The seasons change. A house is not home— a city is not home— this earth is not home. 

Or, as Tolkien would say:

Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate,
And though we pass them by today,
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!

Home is behind, the world ahead,
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night,
Until the stars are all alight.

Then world behind and home ahead,
We'll wander back to home and bed.
Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!


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