We just looked at each other for a long moment. Wow. After more a year of fighting the pandemic, maybe, just maybe, this is the beginning of the end.
We’ve been fully vaccinated since late February. We were extraordinarily lucky: We happened to be in the right place at the right time to get jabbed quickly, while others were queuing and searching desperately for available vaccination slots at locations far and wide. It was a tremendous relief to get our shots, but Chuck and I still wore our masks and socially distanced. (For the most part, we’re rule-followers. We believe in complying with reasonable public health mandates for the good of all, and we glared and muttered under our breaths at those who were out and about and ignoring the rules. And often they glared and muttered at us. On one occasion an unmasked shopper purposefully coughed in our direction. What a divisive time this has been for all of us—)
But, perhaps, this horrible time of fear, of masking, distancing and quarantining is coming to a close. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future we’ll look back at this interlude with the perspective that the passage of time will no doubt provide.
I’ve been surprised at how little writing (as in, virtually none) I’ve done during this time. I can see online that some have put this period of enforced isolation to good use—but not me. The well has been dry. I’ve been treading water. (What a weird combination of metaphors!) I’m hoping that will change now, as we move into the new (and hopefully improved) world.
But Chuck and I haven’t been placid these last few months, as we awaited the end of the plague. Instead, we stirred up our lives: In a period of three and one-half months, we’ll have moved four times.
First, we sold our home in Seattle. It was the right time for us to go. We’d tired of the city and we sensed our neighborhood had changed. The traffic, the congestion, the political and social strife, the implosion of downtown Seattle—all of it led us to the conclusion that we wanted to leave.
We found another home, close to Seattle but a ferry ride away. We discovered we weren’t the only Seattle residents with this idea. House sales were shockingly competitive. After several months of looking we’d found our house—nearly perfect for us—but in order to make the sale, we were required to rent back to the sellers for 60 days. We put our Seattle household goods into storage and moved temporarily to our small summer cottage in northeastern Washington. (So…move #1, leave Seattle house and put possessions into storage; move #2, move into cottage)
Living at the cottage in the spring is not putting in hard time. In the Okanogan, the cherry and apple trees were in blossom, the birds were twittering (and mating madly), and most days were sunny. Almost by accident, we discovered another cottage for sale in the community, smaller but with a most fabulous view of lake and mountains, and we fell in love. We bought it and moved (Move #3, cottage-to-cottage) and put our original cottage on the market.
Now, as we approach June, we are readying for move #4, onto the island. Our belongings will be delivered from storage and we will again have a home. We are both yearning for a sense of being planted in a place, a spot that we will again call home. We know it will take a while, but we can’t wait to get started.
And maybe, hopefully, we’ll land in our new community with bright smiling faces open and unmasked, with the chance to shake hands with our new neighbors instead of backing away to a safe distance.
As we approach move #4 (hopefully the last for a while), I will leave you with my number one epiphany gleaned from moving, and moving, and moving…
We all have too much stuff. Well, Chuck and I do anyway—perhaps you are more accomplished than we are when it comes to deleting unnecessary material goods from your life. When you move, you pretty much have to touch everything you own. We have a mountain of possessions, and the physical stuff is entangled with emotional memories, the tugs of imagined obligations (“It’s part of our family history and no one else will understand or want it”), even sometimes guilt (“Aunt M gave this to me. It’s disloyal to her memory to give it away.”) These obstacles are not rational. I know that. (And yes, I know about Marie Kondo, thank you.)
Take the ice bucket. It’s not even a very functional ice bucket. It was wedding present for my first wedding in the 70’s. The marriage didn’t last too long but I still have the ice bucket. I’ve maybe used it five times in all these years. It’s not very valuable but it has some value. Sell it (not worth the effort), give it away or what? I’ll tell you what—I packed it. It’s going to show up on the island, and I’m not sure why.