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?