Batten Down the Hatches

The winds are blowing strongly through our woods tonight as a Nor’easter blasts its way south. It sounds at times as if a train is coming through the forest. The lights flicker occasionally and even went off briefly earlier in the evening. We have a big generator that will kick on if the power goes off and stays off. We got it not long before Super Storm Sandy came through and knocked out the power grid for almost three weeks. It was such a sweet sound to hear that generator start up and know that we would have water from our well, toilets that would flush and food that wouldn’t spoil!

I am reminded this evening of another Nor’easter I rode out in Manchester, Mass about nine years ago. After my father died, my mother remarried a childhood friend and relocated to his home beside the Atlantic Ocean in Manchester by the Sea. I decided to visit them for Valentine’s Day, only to find out the night before that her new husband had passed away quite suddenly. My sister was there comforting our mother and let me know that I was needed.

All the people who had been caring for my mother and her husband had been summarily fired by his adult children. This included the person doing the cooking as well. My sister let me know that a big Nor’easter was headed directly for Manchester the following day that would bring freezing rain and snow to the area. By the time I got there, everyone had scattered except for my sister.

We decided to ride out the storm with our mom and pack up all her things while the winds were raging. We had to buy food to prepare when we discovered there was nothing in the kitchen and wondered if the cook had taken everything with her when she left!

I remember sitting in the kitchen looking out the window at the roiling ocean waves pounding the shoreline, listening to the sleet and freezing rain hitting the sides of the house and wondering about life and death. Wondering at the brevity of my mom’s second marriage. Wondering how my mom would handle the sorrow of another husband’s passing.

There were so many lessons during that stormy weekend for me! The first was that it is so important to live each moment to its highest potential. (That’s actually my definition of love.) We don’t know what is coming down the pike in our direction so we’d better stay open for anything and everything. Life can end so quickly! Happiness and joy are food for the soul. You’re never too old for love and love is love is love.

When a Nor’easter hits, batten down the hatches and ride it out! The sun will come out tomorrow!

New Beginnings

Getting Ready

Welcome to my new blog! Since I have never blogged before, this is a new process for me. What am I getting ready for you might ask? My husband David and I decided last fall that we would relocate from our Pennsylvania woods to the mountains of western North Carolina near Asheville. And boy did that stir the pot! We have been getting ready to put our 20 acres on the market in the spring ever since!

We bought this lovely woodland acreage in 1980 and moved here in the spring of 1981 from Boulder, Colorado. David and I had been married for 7 months but had not lived together, so I came here with a man I’d been married to but hadn’t lived with yet, to a piece of property I had purchased but had never seen. It was just woods, no driveway, no buildings, so everything we have built here has been part of our creative process.

Now we have a beautiful contemporary home, 2 garages and 2 studios to get ready to sell! One thing I’ve learned is that the Universe doesn’t like a vacuum. So that translates into space as well. If there is room on a shelf or a wall, it wants to be filled. And being artists, we have filled our walls and shelves with art made by other artists whose work we admire and want to support, and in our studios, we have filled our shelves with our own completed works of art as well as the components of what goes into our respective artforms. I am a seed bead artist and David is a woodturner.

Well, that translates into a lot of work for us to decide what to give away to special friends & family, what to keep for ourselves, what to sell, what to donate to a thrift store and what to throw into the dumpster in order to get ready to move.

We also have developed a critical eye as to our buildings, our home especially, and are looking at everything we need to update, replace or complete to get ready to have our place photographed and then put on the market. This has included things like replacing all the exterior & interior doors and hardware, replacing 3 toilets, tiling the bathroom floors & around the bathtubs, replacing the dishwasher, installing a new air conditioning/heat system, sanding the maple countertops in the kitchen, refinishing the hardwood floors, removing the 1940’s Hot Point chest freezer, replacing all the fixture covers, building a fence around the generator and the propane tank, graveling the driveway, having a sign made for “Fox Creek”, the name we gave this property 35 years ago! And the list goes on!

This is the work that we need to do to get ready to have our home and outbuildings really shine when we put “Fox Creek” on the market in the spring. It’s exhausting but at the same time, we are both excited about what awaits us in North Carolina.

The Unknown

It’s very true that we don’t know what awaits us in North Carolina. We don’t know what our next place looks like yet because we have just begun the process of letting a realtor down there know what we’re looking for. For many people, having to sit in the “unknown” is a very uncomfortable place. We like to think that we’re in control at all times and know what’s going on.  I recognize that as uncomfortable as it may feel at times, this is an important part of making a shift of this magnitude in our lives.

We truly don’t know what lies ahead, what our next place will be like, how we will make new friends, find new doctors, a chiropractor, yoga classes, masseuse, some of the many things that are important to us. But we do have the confidence that we are doing this together as a team and that everything will unfold in its own time and be perfect. Yes, I believe that it will be perfect for us and that we will support each other when one of us is doubtful or fearful. Healthy doubt is good to process through and I rarely sit in fear, thank goodness!

We need to make this shift now, while we are still young enough to do it both physically and emotionally. We have three grown kids in their 40’s who are busy with their own lives. If one of them had to come do the work we’re doing now to extricate ourselves from this place we’ve lived for 35 years, it would take months and most of what we have would probably be headed for an auction or a dumpster!

I feel a little like the caterpillar who has woven its chrysalis and is hanging in the void, vulnerable but ready to become a beautiful butterfly. I’m in the unknown and I’m getting ready for what is TO BE. And I find that very exciting.

Life is predicated on change. We can either change by volition or have change forced on us by life. I prefer creating the opening for change to work through me and be in the flow of life. One of my favorite quotes is by a Jungian therapist named Barry Stevens: “Don’t Push The River, (it flows by itself)”. She wrote a book by that name that I recommend to anyone interested in pursuing this philosophy. Change brings us to new beginnings, the end of one chapter of our life and the beginning of the next one. I’m getting ready!