You know how when you are in the drawn-out process of leaving, all you can notice about the once-beloved is what's wrong? Every little fault, every little frustration, is magnified through a prism of separation. The soul is pried out, and drains away.
That isn't happening to me. Every morning, for months now, I've been waking as the world lightens, just so I can steal a few more minutes from the day to gaze out the bedroom window at an expanse of meadow and pond and sky and ocean. I've listened for the last calls of the owls, sated after the nocturnal hunt. I've watched the gulls wheel over the pond, their bellies glowing with sun that still feels cool, and I've watched the trees round out of flat, silhouetted dimension, skeletal black against white. The world comes to life. And so do I. I have been filled, day after day, with love for this gorgeous, tiny plot of .. well, it has been a plot filled with everything.
Soon enough my house here on the coast of Rhode Island will be packed up, the contents put into storage where they will wait for the next adventure. And there will be a next adventure. I just don't yet know what it is. I remind myself: I know how to do this. I know how to make a home. I know how to plant a garden. I know how to be in love with a place--and yes, there is a kind of necessary knowingness. That isn't being sold off. I will flex those muscles again. Elsewhere.
I've thanked the pots and pans, the clocks and pillows, the books and music, the sturdy table, made of thick planks of pecan, in honor of the Texas landscape where it was made, and on which I have sated my own appetite, diurnal, nocturnal, endless. I've sorted through closets and sent many things on to another life, in service of other families. I've admired the architect's work, all over again: the way the molding around the doors resolves into the walls, the way the staircase curves and the way the shadows move across the floor.
It is all so beautiful. I have been so lucky to be here. I am profoundly grateful for the healing, for the grace, of this land. And of course I worry: will there ever be another home as beautiful? Will the stars shine as brilliantly over another garden? Will the birds call out at night somewhere else? Will the sun rise, and the sun set, through the sky over another house? Will the spiders be as nimbly, exactingly industrious?
This is the time of life I am now in: thinking not about "my whole life" --as we do when we are young: we have our whole lives to do this or that, so many years ahead for so many possibilities. Now I am in "the rest of my life". An altogether different place--and one that requires another sort of preparation. "Sustainability" takes on new meaning: I want to set myself up so that I can sustain the rhythms I create, no matter what happens. Well, as proximate to sustainability as I can get.
This is a stage of life that is painfully and joyfully finite. They all are, of course, but this is the one we recognize as such, right from the get-go. One that has an urgency, one in which all that is good is heightened, and all that is sad begins to seem familiar, and, for the most part, manageable. Beloved friends begin to slip away, turning a corner in the path ahead and--vanishing. We know we will catch up. We know, too, that they would rather be here watching the sun rise. We will have to tell them about it. Which means we will have to pay even greater attention to each and every magical moment.
It strikes me now that regret comes only of not having loved enough. I have no regrets.