Our landlord sold our house. Ok, technically it’s his house, but he’s never lived in it, so untechnically (an obvious antonym for technically) it’s our house. The day we move out will mark six full and exact years since the day I moved in. It’s bittersweet. There are things about being settled that I love. And yet for our whole lives we are harnessed to the fluctuating tides of change. Fortunately when I’m in a trusting space, I love a little rendezvous with the unknown even more than a comfortable seat.
When Steve moved in to the house there was a picnic table, TV, and an ashtray in the living room. The kitchen cupboard housed a stockpile of paper plates so that no one had to do dishes. When I moved in there was green shag carpet in the bedroom. To put this in perspective, there was no vacuum in the house, two dogs that slept in the room and countless roommates before Steve that had lived and done lord knows what else in the room a la shag carpet. My mom visited three days after I moved in and promptly went and bought us a new toilet seat. Enough said about the state of things.
Over the last six years we’ve painted, we’ve purged (I’ve prayed), and slowly we’ve grown the little nest we call home. A wise woman (also known as my Mom) suggested that before we move, we collect the energy we’ve put into the house. The only way I can think of doing that is by giving thanks. Six years of living calls forth a lot of gratitude. Gravity too. Indeed life delivers as much as you can handle on both ends of the spectrum.
I had just started nutrition school when I moved into this house. Our pantry has accommodated a zillion batches of kombucha and the counters have seen the sprouting of every kind of nut, seed and bean. My consulting practice grew while I walked the trails near my house, dreaming into the nooks and crannies of how I could offer my understanding of nourishment to the world.
I birthed Finn in this house. On a gorgeous June day with the help of my skilled and attuned midwife, the tireless and loving arms of my husband, the sweetness of a dear friend, the calm energy of my mom and the howling of our Anatolian shepherd; Finn made his way earth- side and nothing (or at least very little) has been the same since.
I planted my first garden here. My mother- in- law helped me tuck beans, tomatoes and cucumbers into the earth, while my father- in- law fixed the door on our van. It was a revealing afternoon given that it was the first time my in-laws (who were then my boyfriend’s parents) had visited us in BC and even though I couldn’t garden worth a whip and was also the one responsible for the gigantic dent in the van door, they still liked me.
My step-father used to visit me in this house, though he wouldn’t remember that now. Dementia has changed his landscape dramatically over the last few years and I give immense thanks that I am still a familiar beacon to him. Dealing with his decline has sort of been my secret life. Living in a different city has meant that my presence has been energetic rather than physical but because of the closeness I share with my mom, it still feels like I’ve been front lines for much of it. The loss of a man who I loved as my spiritual father has taken many different shapes and provoked countless different feelings.Though I think it has taken greater strength to witness my mom, who has been asked to rise again and again and again. While her heartache was infectious, so has her spirit been. I hope I’ve inherited her ability to always find a way to stand.
I’ve also loved and lost two dogs while living here. It was a package deal when I started seeing Steve: old house and 2 dogs. The house took me some time (years) to bond with, while the dogs had my number pretty quick. They, like Finn, ruled the house. And they usually got forgiven before I finished scolding them. They were loved in the imperfect ways that I, as a human am capable of. But the love that came back to me, truly did feel perfect. We had known for some time that we were going to have to say goodbye to Wicky and when the day came it couldn’t have been more heart-wrenching or beautiful. We lost Suka (a.k.a. big dawg or biggs) suddenly and it’s taken a long time for the ache to pass. One thing that’s helped is a gift I got last year for my birthday. Steve commissioned an adored and talented friend of ours to paint a photo of biggs. The canvass hangs in the dining room, but through the open door of our bedroom, it’s one of the last things I see every night before I turn out the light. He is still our loyal shepherd.
This house has revealed many things to me. That walls are mere representations of limits and that when you commit to growth you do indeed surpass them. That everything changes over time, but we can’t see it while it’s happening. When I’ve felt stalled and stuck, there is actually a whole whack of energy happening behind the scenes that will one day result in a magical “poof” and put the world as I know it, on its head. That no matter how much new paint you add, new furniture you buy or room shuffling you do, you have to be ready to change your own interior landscape before you can actually feel at home.
In the time that I’ve been here, I’ve become an entrepreneur, a wife and a mother. I am leaving this house with far more than I came with. No doubt the soil beneath me is rich. When they tear down this house, perhaps they will find the piece of paper I buried the day before my 30th birthday. It was a list of all the things I was not willing to be scared of anymore. Not knowing my place in the world was one of them. For all the times I’ve cursed the power lines overhead or the scaly bath tub floor, my time in this house truly has brought me closer to finding my way home.
Humble abode, I bow my head to you.