Revelations From the Road, Continued
When clearing out a space (condo, office at work, farmhouse) the final objects left to deal with are odd ones, things that aren’t clearly keepers, but somehow not garbage, and not valuable to others. Often they are things tied to a certain aspect of my former lifestyle. As an example, the farmhouse had many beds and a corresponding number of sets of sheets. Nice sheets. However, those beds are (mostly) gone, and not many people have double beds, and someone else’s sheets aren’t usually at the top of the list of things people desire. But they were so nice to have, and to sleep on, that I hesitate in releasing them.
Having a big bonfire circled by friends makes it fun to burn items I might not otherwise consider setting on fire. Like a quilt so ragged it was useless. Or the spices from the farm house cupboard. (Cumin and cinnamon were especially aromatic on the fire.) Scrap wood from a construction project. Still to come, giant spool tables.
This process has me feeling free to have experiences that I previously delayed. A friend gave me a sky lantern (just go look it up, they are amazing) and I held onto it for years, never feeling the time was quite special enough to launch it. But I can’t carry it with me, so on Saturday night, with neighbors and friends gathered under the very apparent Milky Way at the bonfire in the yard of the farm house, we opened that sky lantern package up and lit the fuel patch. Three of us held it as the tissue paper balloon filled with hot air and tugged at our grip, and then we all watched with wonder as it ascended into the stars. Lesson. Don’t save your sky lanterns. Light them and let them go.
If I ever tell you I am collecting something, and it involves actual physical items of some kind, bop me on the side of the head. Forty or fifty quilts? Really?
As I systematically dismantle what was my life, or the trappings of a life, people around me express fear or concern that I am leaving them behind, as well. My impulse is to insist I am not, but I am not certain they aren’t right. I don’t know where this process is leading me.
I want to find the salamander that lives in the basement of the farmhouse to say goodbye.
A few of you know about the mystical experience that left me with what I describe as sacred branches. Yesterday I burned the two branches, and an osprey came, and hung in the air above me, and oriented himself like an angel and held himself in place with his giant wings. He spent the rest of the day diving into the pond and emerging with fish, and then I saw it wasn’t one osprey, it was two. This is a perfect example of the lesson I have been working with since my long walk in the sandhills. (Message to myself, not advice.) Whatever it is you are afraid to surrender, trust that it will be replaced by something even more astonishing.
I don’t have a good word for what I am doing, but I know what it is not. This is not retirement. I wince a little when people describe it that way, because it feels fundamentally untrue. In fact, I just got a little job! A tiny, little job. But work, none-the-less.
Clearing and repairing the farmhouse for incoming renters has been a consuming project. Just underneath it I can feel the insistent desire for skill development. Workshops for dancing, archery, hula hoop, writing and bouldering all appeal.
I am setting mousetraps in my vehicle tonight. Enough said.
Well, maybe not quite enough said. For the first time, I have been getting tiny urges to get rid of my vehicle. It scares me some to even consider it. Not replace mind you, just release.
Many delightful and warm invitations have been coming my way. A writing retreat with some of my favorite women on a remote ranch, followed by a kayaking trip on the Current River with top-notch river friends are looking likely.
Things that went away in the last few days: a row boat, a washer and dryer, a computer monitor. Things still needing their rightful home: finch feeder, drip coffeemaker, vacuum cleaner.