rootlessness

My husband, daughter and I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico for several years.  For the last 2 years we rented a great house with a HUGE yard that was completely walled in and very private.  We loved it.  We did so much work on that place – when we moved in the yard was covered with waist-high dried sticks of weeds and a number of resident black widows.  It was horrible, but we could see it had great potential.  My husband dug endlessly, we planted, watered everything by hand with rainwater because there were drought restrictions, and before long we had beautiful gardens and chickens, and we spent a lot of happy time out there eating, gardening and playing.

Then 4 years ago I decided we needed to move back to Boston for work.  We found an apartment in a 2-family house with a small shared yard.  My husband built a garden box to grow vegetables in and I enjoyed the outcome but was never truly invested in it.  It just wasn’t the same.  I wallowed.

My daughter wanted to plant flowers all over the yard, just like we had in Santa Fe, but I couldn’t see the point.  I kept hoping we wouldn’t be there too long, and that we’d have a better place to plant in soon – somewhere we might stay a while.  You see a moral coming, don’t you?  You’re more alert than I was.

Thankfully, my daughter didn’t give up and we planted a bunch of bulbs, which I looked forward to as eagerly as she did.  But the real holdout was a rose bush.  We’d left two beautiful rose bushes 2,000 miles away and she wanted another one more than anything.  But again, I kept saying let’s wait.  For what exactly I can’t tell you – just a vague someplace better.

You’ll be glad to know that this past summer I finally came to my senses and said of course we can plant a rose bush.  And she was so happy, and we all love it.

This is the place I’ve least wanted to stay out of all the places we’ve lived, so naturally it’s the place we’ve been the longest.  I’ve been so resistant to putting down roots of all kinds, but I’ve come to believe that’s precisely what holds me back.

in the beginning

The other night I asked my husband to pick out a book for me from our basement collection.  He’s a book lover living in a small apartment, in a city with good, cheap, used books so naturally we have far too many for them all to live peacefully above floors with us. I didn’t care if I’d read the book before, but I wanted something I might not pick for myself.

He came back with In the Beginning, by Chaim Potok, which he chose particularly for the first line:
“All beginnings are hard.”

Later, Potok goes on to say:

“Especially a beginning that you make by yourself.  That’s the hardest beginning of all.”

What a timely reminder for me, as I fret about my plans.  Lately I’ve changed my mind nearly every day about whether to get an MBA, become a music teacher, do a museum studies program, or fill in the blank ___________.  Somehow I haven’t yet gotten to the old standbys: open a bakery/cafe, concentrate on designing and selling my sewing pieces, move to a small town and just get any job that we can live on and enjoy the quiet and the slow pace.I recently had occasion to count how many courses in different subjects I took in college.  Want to guess how many music courses there were?  28!  Want to take a stab at how many statistics, economics, finance, business, and math courses there were?  How about: 0,0,0,0,and 0!  So what am I thinking?

Well, I suppose among other things I’m thinking that people change.  How nice, even, to know I’m not the same person I was 24 years ago when I started college – and I don’t need to be limited by who I was then.  But it’s amazing to witness the fears and objections that rise up in me as I brazenly contemplate doing something I’ve never done before, beginning anew.

May I live to enjoy the beginning and see my plan through.