In an unprecedented act of promptness, Dave and I moved yesterday, one day ahead of schedule. A window of reprieve from the monsoon and a rapid response of a few willing helpers got us in motion, and when things picked up steam, Dave stopped me in the bedroom and said, "I think we need to try to do it all tonight". What followed was fast and furious packing of any remains in cupboards and closets, with toothbrushes and blankets and dirty towels shoved in every available space. Thanks to a couple friends, a couple dads (and moms!), and a trusty Grandpa, it was all moved by midnight except a few odds and ends.

This is the first time in history he and I have ever been an entire day early. It's worth a diary notation at least, maybe even a plaque.

No matter the amount of time and preparation, moving is such an uprooting. I've moved small, unstable plants and I've dug around roots to move older, stable ones, all vibrant and green. I don't have any great experience or research, but it seems like the post-transplant wilt is more distinct the more vivacious the root system is. I feel like it's true for us as well.

We moved almost 7 years ago, only 2 tumultuous years into our marriage, leaving a rental house with brown dingy carpet and a bad paint job, perched on the edge of a busy highway. Other than a catch in my throat when bidding the sweet old neighbors next door good bye, I walked away and never looked back. The house was neither tasteful nor comfortable, and held what seemed as many bad memories as good. The roots were small, the transplant was easy.

Yesterday I left a house that held stories of even darker days than the first, but a wealth of rich and beautiful ones. I left a wonderful neighborhood. The roots were much more dense and deep.  And today there's some wilt showing up.

This wilting is visible in different ways. There is a general wilt of the glazed eyes and melting skin sort,  likely having more to do with scant hours of sleep interrupted by every creak and bump, and the game of Survivor Midwest humidity and old farm houses without the newfangled contraptions such as air conditioners seem to have concocted; who will be the last one standing under the humidity suffocation?? (Bonus points challenge, who of the sweating contestants will best cope with having two showers, neither of which currently have usable shower curtains?)

The wilting also shows up in regression of behaviors- certain people assuming a new pad means all household rules are now open to negotiation, and certain bigger people forgetting to use calm words when both sets of car keys are missing.

Unfamiliar sounds and smells and chaos everywhere sets the whole family on edge, even the canines. And some canines with their pacing and moaning and bouts of IBS are more sensitive (and frighteningly similar to their owners) than others.

This afternoon I stood quiet and watched the movement of the pasture. The wind waved the tall grass, swallows dipped and sored, and six butterflies danced in formation, a fluttering kite tail of white over the creek. The robin songs were the happiest loud.



But then I saw the pasture grasses thrashing and loudly stirring and brown heads surfaced over the weeds before ducking down again at the fence nearest the house. I screamed at Ebby to get inside, because while my rationale was telling me it was only stray dogs, my much more persuasive panic was yelling, "Wolverines! They probably have a den under the old tree and are set to consume whatever is disturbing their pack!"

Suddenly all the beauty I'd observed seemed unworth the risks of this place. The wilting just happens, even in the loveliest conditions.

I've spent much time resisting this move, denying it, trying to talk my way out of it, resenting it, most of all fearing it- this uninhibated space feels isolating and so far from my ideals and dreams.

But the thing about a transplant is, the gardner always does it with purpose. More sun, more space, better soil, all lead towards more potential to thrive. Even though at first, regardless of the better light or richer nutrients, the uprooting gives it a temporary set back.

I believe I know good plans for my flowers, so I surely have to believe my Creator knows me and us and our best potential for thriving, and it must include being here.

We're all wilting a little today, feeling uprooted and vulnerable. But I'm looking for the signs: the new color, the fresh spark, the signs of settled roots and thriving life.

New Scenery

New Scenery

Things are looking different around here, both virtually and literally. My virtual home has had a face lift that I’m excited about! The fresh scenery around here will hopefully bring with it some fresh inspiration and provide a place for more regular connecting and sharing of life’s wild and funny and hard happenings.

My literal home is in a slightly less fresh state of being. Our address is in the process of changing. Boxes are lining up in my living room, shelves are looking bare, and my heart’s in my throat over things like causal neighbor encounters and the antics of the squirrel family in the hole of our towering walnut tree, knowing these familiar sights are soon to be a memory.

Moving, though a terribly commonplace experience for all of us, is bringing out the deepest sentimentality in me. For the most part, I don’t have a hard time letting go of possessions. The experiences are what get me, consistent with my heart’s way of giving and receiving love, I suppose. Gifts are special but their emotional messages are shorter lived, whereas moments in time shared in touching ways, linger in my memory forever.

Today while I was sweating in the sun squinting at my computer screen, Loreena skipped over from her yard two houses down. She gave me a front row demonstration of her new summer threads and most recent gymnastic accomplishments. Ellory keeps me stocked with Girl Scout cookies, and when she and her brother walk up the hill to play a game of foursquare with my girls they are such gentle, patient teachers I want to bribe them to be my girls' BFFs.

 In the spring, sudden, raucous laughter and screaming in my front yard signals it’s 2:30 and the middle and high schoolers are walking/biking/running/skateboarding/ tussling/shuffling the sidewalk home. In the fall I can expect to hear Tom’s leaf blower every evening after five and on weekends, and cymbals and cheering from the football stadium on Friday nights. In the event of a hail storm, power outage, tree limb down, dog loose, strange car on the street, house put up for sale, unexpected firing of the backwoods neighbor’s canon (this is only normal on New Years Eve and July 4th), I can count on a phone call or an informal meet up on Mary Lane for discussion and gossip swapping of the latest excitement. There are Christmas baked goods shared on wintery walks, strolls to the duck pond when we all need some fresh air, and so many other little things about this place I’m going to miss.



I know new scenery is waiting to fill up my windows, new sounds soon to be comforting, and new memories to be made. New, as invigorating and adventuresome as it may be, is still no match for familiar, and maybe that’s the hardest part. Adventures can be had, new sights discovered, and beauty found, but familiarity cannot be forced. It comes along slow and gentle, with hardly visible progress, like the leaves on the maple trees in April. Nothing but stark branches to be seen for so long, then one day a hint of baby green, and suddenly, foliage. And when the leaves are all fresh and glinting in the sun, casting dancing shadows on the grass, it’s almost impossible to remember how grey and barren the limbs looked only days before.



Every time it seems new leaves will never come. Every time they do and then it’s like they never left. That’s how it feels for me today. Looking around our new property at empty hallways and blank spaces with unfamiliar smells and creaks, surrounded by old barns and unexplored pastures, and it seems impossible that it will ever feel like home. But I’m catching onto the ways of change enough to think that one day it will. One day I'll write about how the deer run through the field at dusk, how the creek sounds after it rains, the quirks of the farmer across the field, and it will be like we were always there.

Are you experiencing a change of scenery in your life, your family, your church, your job? What do you miss the most from the familiar you left behind? How are you moving forward and embracing the new?