I have always loved being home. As a self-diagnosed introvert, I am usually the happiest when I am holed up inside surrounded by the stuff I love, real and otherwise, that is important to me. So, this time of isolation isn’t a huge stress for me.
As many of you know (and lived), Bea and I moved in October. We left the only home that Beatrice had ever known, and the one Pat and I built and lived in for 20 years. It was no easy task. We were leaving the community that I had grown up in, with people I had known my entire life. We were also leaving Pat behind in a huge sense.
If I hadn’t been off work at the time, I do not think it would have ever happened- the leaving. I was able to pull things together and to just think. The idea of leaving Athol uploaded slowly. It really began with the basement clear out which was slightly scary as it was Pat’s domain and his definition of organizing was making the piles higher. It became a challenge to see how long it would take someone to pick up what I had placed at the bottom of the hill for spring cleanup. My family from the west would even call for updates!
Once the decision was made to go, it was like a puzzle being put together in terms of how smoothly things went into place. I will never forget the day I bought 7 Clarence for us! And away we went in this perpetual forward motion.
Perpetual like a self-propelled lawnmower. We knew what had to be done, or we were told what had to be done, so we did it. Kind of like having a baby. It wasn’t easy and it still isn’t sometimes. I miss seeing Arnold’s light. I miss knowing Kelsey, David, Rosie, and Ashlynn are just over the rise. And I miss my Athol walks, especially when it is snowing. But that is so incredibly okay. Athol was my home and will always be the biggest part of me as long as I live so if I pine for it, that is only natural.
But now we have this incredible new space and this time we have to spend in it has really helped make it our home. I am definitely not the neat freak I used to be. Dusting does not happen every second Saturday. Sometimes beds do not get made. The rooms are smaller and we have become clutter bugs which diminishes the space we have, but Bea and I are liking it all.
And by all, I mean our street, our church community, our town, the merchants, the artists. It’s wonderful. I may even have to revamp my self-imposed introvert label a bit! It has been fun meeting new people and reacquainting myself with others I had known in my other life. Before covid-19, I even frequented Ducky’s (a local bar) a few times!
One of my favorite pieces of writing by Margaret Laurence is “On Firmer Ground” (I believe that’s the title). In it she talks about living in Europe, England perhaps, and that it wasn’t until she was away from Canada that she began to write her biographical Manawaka series. I have always loved writing and I like identifying with authors and their craft. But I could never get my shit together to really do it seriously until now. There was always something to do, to fix, to make. And now that I have eased up on the incessant cleaning, I seem to have the time for it. And being distanced from that other life, that beautiful, secure, simple life also causes me to look at things differently and lovingly. And when your heart and throat are full, your best thoughts come flowing out.
What I thought would be impossible to know again: that feeling of contentment and belonging? It’s doing the self-propelling thing, so that here I am , writing on my front porch with little Sal and a full heart.
Home is definitely where you are, and this, my girls, is where we are.