Today is a vacation/home day. This morning we woke up in Hull, in a third floor lookout over the water, with boats down below. We had breakfast in a diner across from the beach where we had spent the day before drifting on a boat/raft my guy keeps folded up in his JP basement, not the motor boat I grew up with in the Finger Lakes of Western New York, but offering a familiar sensation of being held by the waves that soothes me into a calmer place.

Summer this year has been especially full for me of all kinds of drifting and shifting, geographically, spiritually, relationally, internally, and externally. I’ve been away every week or weekend since mid-June, have visited with friends and family old and new, in gatherings, in pairs, in new arrangements simulating family. My household has included my own two children, two semi-new partners here pretty regularly, my son’s and mine, the family of three who moved here in April expecting to stay through June, now here somewhat indefinitely until their next plan becomes clear, and our downstairs housemate, who’s been on the road as much as she’s been here this summer, and her occasional visitors. Even the day care has been in constant flux, with more alumni visitors and new children with us this summer and more new children on the way this fall than we’ve had in many years.

I’ve done lots of house projects, some with lots of help, some on my own, from cleaning out the basement, to adding a third fridge and a second washer and dryer to make life in larger groups less stressful, to trimming sky high hedges with a team of day care volunteers, to painting two rooms and the hallway of the second floor with my new guy, to supporting my daughter in packing up her doll house and playmobil worlds, to helping my son move from the Upper East Side of Manhattan to East Harlem. I’ve paid others to help, to kill the mildew and repaint the third floor bath, to sand and refinish the table and railings on the back porch, to reglaze and paint the living room windows, to plane the many doors that have quit fitting in their frames, to move the fridges and washers and dryers, to do the plumbing required for the new washer/dryer set up, to repair and upgrade the electrical, to clean and tidy.

Something inside is shifting..Life is now here, not on the way there, to Western Mass, to a new career, to an early retirement, to saying good-bye to my children and community. I’m settling in as I’m drifting and shifting.

In the midst of it, I’ve seen my college friends, my mom and sister and my father’s extended family, a group of friends who’ve gathered at Woolman Hill fifteen years, my son and my new guy’s friends in New York, Quakers from around New England, the Ashfield housemates, and Western Mass friends. I’ve been to New York three times this summer, once to Ithaca, once to my home in Western New York, once to Manhattan, to Vermont twice, once to Ludlow and once to Castleton, to Western Mass a few times, to my home places there in Northampton and Ashfield, to Plum Island and Crane’s Beaches on the North Shore and to Nantasket and Hull on the South Shore several times, and this weekend my daughter and I will go to Maine for an overnight of camping with her Sudbury Valley friends.

It’s been a summer of dot-to-dot living, finding ways to connect with many people and places, most of which are a version of home.

While at the beach yesterday I read old issues of the Sun my daughter nearly recycled on one of her days at home tidying our space. Two of my favorite pieces were interviews with those whose home is the earth, who have a relationship to it I was curious to understand, one a Native American woman biologist seeking to integrate her traditional ways of knowing with her orientation as a scientist, the other an explorer of wilderness. Both communicated through their interviews a timelessness in their world views and a connection to spirit and the universe and to the land and it’s inhabitants I could admire. Traveling, being in nature, on the water, in the woods, experiencing the warmth of closeness with family and friends, housemates and co-workers, and community in many places is grounding this summer, in ways similar to what the interviewees described. I feel I belong in the universe again at last, that I am not adrift even as I’m drifting and life is shifting. I’ve got a handle for the moment on the fact that life is change, that we are all evolving, that there is as much to be gained in places of not knowing as in the certainty we sometimes think we need.

Off to the movies, more inspiration, tonight by Spike Lee and a true story, Black Klansman, with my daughter and my guy, staycation style. Time to get ready so I can hope to be on time.

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