It takes me longer than I anticipate to arrive. For the first two weeks, I have move-related amnesia. I can’t find anything, even my body in space. One night, I believe I’ve broken my elbow after a coffee table falls on it. I fold in against myself like origami and cry. I have no idea about anything. If it’s broken, or if it isn’t, and so I spend hours in ER with T at my side while a dear friend sits on my couch in my unpacked house. Outside it pours. We get the verdict that it’s just badly bruised, and I come home dejected, exhausted, embarrassed. My friend acts like it’s completely no problem. He’s good like that, even though the cat threw up in our absence. I owe him for certain.
A week later I slit my wrist trying to catch a falling glass picture frame. The cut makes a perfect red line. Gapes just enough to make me quaver. It happens ten minutes before we need to leave to bring Sprout to his first day of school, and so I apply pressure and wrap my wrist in a dozen bandaids and just go, carrying it vertically, like a fragile totem. I kiss his rosy cheeks, watch his hesitation and the decision to follow after his teacher to feed the chickens, and then I go. I call my doctor, then head to urgent care. Hours later I have three stitches. After the first day I wear the zebra bandaids Sprout offers me. I try to slow down.
Still, I walk into door frames. Trip over shoes in the entryway. Everything is a perpetual, “Where did you put the…?” conversation. Everything displaced, misplaced. There are socks along with mail. A hammer in the silverware drawer. We take two trips to Ikea, the first to get bunkbeds that aren’t in stock, the second too, to get the beds. We come back with other things, naturally. Lights we want to return the minute we’ve brought them in the door. A cabinet to house the audio equipment that in the last house had been wired into in-wall speakers. We drive up and back passing miles of genetically modified corn that rustles with perfect stalks in flat fields as the sun arcs across the sky. We become impatient experts at assembling flat pack furniture.
And then we’re here. Here in the best little neighborhood that is so close to everything. One night we go to the lake after dinner for ice cream cones, and are back in time for bed. Other nights we walk Clover, the boys riding out ahead on their bikes, making a game of stopping (and sometimes not stopping) where I tell them to. The sun slants long and golden and low across the pavement, and makes our cheeks light up.
Somehow we make it through T’s birthday (my love, my hero, my co pilot) and the first week of school, and finally the house feels functional. Every room has it’s utility and gradual grace. Many still need paint or pictures or hooks or nooks to be created. But it’s close now, and we all feel like we’re here now instead of in limbo with our minds tracking back to the familiar habit of the floor plan we left behind.
Also, out of nowhere, amidst all the turbulence of moving, the title for my next book arrives like a gift. Like a thin silver lasso cast out among a stampede of thoughts that occur as I do other mindless tasks (turns out building flat pack furniture is good for something). And it makes me giddy to have it now, this whisper, this inkling of what the book will be, tucked into the pocket of my heart even as I celebrate the 1-year anniversary of my first book. Whoosh. There went the year.
Now we eat on the back picnic table in the last light of evening. We light candles after dark. Apples are sweetening in the orchards and the air is crisp. And slowly, slowly I am arriving. Here. In this new life.
Now, upon arrival, as I begin new rituals, blocking time into my calendar for new projects, and mapping new runs,I find myself circling back to the things that ground me: poetry, morning pages, baking bread, making soup.