In 27 days, I will move out of my home of 9 1/2 years.
When I think about it, I ache sometimes. And other times, I feel totally exhilarated by the possibilities of new change. Back and forth these two feelings go, as I ride the wave of the reality that in 27 days I will move out of my home of 9 1/2 years.
July was a time of intense mourning. 779 Hollow Road is the first home I've ever truly made for myself. When I came here, I was looking for a more interesting place to be, someplace near a town center so I could walk there and be in community. (I didn't even know what being in community was yet, though.) I knew that I wanted to have a place to create a flute studio where I could teach and have a beautiful space for working with my students, and this house has been perfect for that. When I moved here, I loved the thought of living in a quaint little historic town, perched on the edge of a state park, with a train going by in the distance. It all fit my vision of the perfect place to live. And it has been the perfect place to live! Here, I have learned what it feels like to know and love my neighbors like family, to truly be who I am. I have learned what it means to create a home that is a true sanctuary, a space that is an external expression of my innermost being. My home has also been a sanctuary for others - I have opened my doors for parties, potlucks, drum circles, women's circles, energy healing shares, musical rehearsals, and beloved friends. I have always wanted to open my door and leave it open for all of my people to feel welcome. And I have done that, and it has been wonderful. On my 35th birthday, just a few weeks ago, I felt the fullness of that openness. More than 30 of those who are dear to my heart came to help me celebrate, and I was full and brimming over with joy and love.
But living here has been more than just community and this house. It has also been a decade of learning what it means to live in deep connection with the land. When I moved into this house, there was nothing growing by the sidewalk, just a long stretch of gravel. It was ugly. I asked my landlord for dirt so I could grow a garden, and dirt was gladly provided. Now, I see trees shading the sidewalk, I see butterfly bushes thick with blossoms, providing nectar for bumblebees, hummingbirds, and butterflies. I see flowers in bloom for most of the green seasons. I see plants others label "weeds" growing happily, because I've decided I like them and want them to stay. I've seen the lilac bloom every spring, and have been filled with joy to sit by the window in the living room and take in the heavenly scent. I have watched the magnolia blossom and grow, and also be broken down by the heavy snows. I have buried my first cat beneath her gentle boughs, as well. I see herbs and flowers coming up in new places that they seem to have chosen for themselves, though the original was brought in by me, and planted elsewhere. I love that, too. To know that I have been the caretaker of this land, and to see how it has grown so lush and beautiful because I have cared enough to love the Earth through planting green growing things.
And the River. The holy sacred River. My beloved Ganga Ma, sweet waters that have taught me so many things. I have learned the deep blessing of knowing the way she moves, whether low in drought or high in raging post-rain rush. I have learned the ways of moving in her waters, of finding rocks to hinge my body from to lean into her current. I have learned the place of each rock in my special spot, and can find them by feel and by knowing as I move in her waters. I have sat upon my rock, and have enjoyed the feeling of the warmth of the sunlight after the sun has begun to sink behind the trees - the rock will stay warm for hours after the sun has left. I know the rush of her water, the different songs that different parts of her current sing, and have offered my own songs to her as well. I have come to know the sweet smell of River, which is most clearly inhaled when I am very still, and breathing in very slowly. Each time I have gone to enjoy her waters, I have known the holiest of Baptism, as she openly receives me back into her sweet flow. I have never known a feeling of home more than in this River. I love her like any being I have ever loved. I love her completely.
Sigh. And now, the ache in my heart has grown stronger. As I imagine myself leaving Oella behind, I understand how powerful it can be to truly have a sense of place. Place on the Earth, place in relationship not only with humans, but with the natural, wild, sweet Earth. I have never consciously known what that is before living here, and I am grateful in my bones for even being able to comprehend what that means, to know where I am, and to know who I am in relationship to that. I haven't met too many people who understand what I'm talking about either. That makes me sad. It seems that we know who we are in relation to our families, our neighborhoods, our churches, our friends, our schools and workplaces, and our homes. But how many people truly know what it feels like to be rooted in the land, in the Earth herself? I am grateful for knowing that and feeling it here. And knowing it and feeling it so deeply in my heart makes the ache even stronger because I feel the process of uprooting myself now growing so strong. This is the end of a sweet relationship, the end of a marriage between myself and this place, and for that I will continue to mourn. My heart is heavy in sadness. And I know that the time to leave is here, and I must move on. The River has taught me as much, that we must keep flowing. I must keep flowing.