As you know, we moved to Florida with our dog, Toby, and two cats, Bear and MacyGray, last September. I left my job of 28 years, packed up our house of 18 years, signed the papers, left the town I loved and the state I was born in to start life over again. It was my version of an emotional BASE jump. And I crashed. Hard.
It was all too much, really. Too many changes all at once. Too many goodbyes, I couldn't take it. I was afraid I would die, then I was afraid I wouldn't. As soon as we arrived, I knew it was a lifetime mistake and it was all my fault, my choice, my insecurities of not being able to afford where I wanted to go, Vermont, to live closer to the part of my family who have lived there for over 30 years. Almost every year of those 30, I drove there to be part of their lives, I did not want my nieces and nephew to grow up not knowing who Aunt Deedee was. Every time I drove the route north along Rt 87, got off at Exit 20, motored through Fort Ann and crossed the border from New York into Vermont, I felt this is where my home is, these mountains, these hills, these sights, these smells. And yes, before anyone points out to me how cold it is in Vermont, I am no stranger to winter but the seasons are home to me too. Better winter outside the heart than inside.
The weeks have passed as I tripped over the pieces of my shattered self in Florida. We learned a shallow new routine, I walk Toby early morning and later in the evening to avoid the worst of the heat, we listened to the news of the brittle winter we were missing, I went birding, enjoyed a developing friendship with a young woman I met through her writings on dog training. Ken and I have EVEN BEEN GOING TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS. It turned out to be a place to plant our flag of weekly survival.
It is not as easy meeting people here as I thought it was going to be, many assume we are snowbirds and won't be here long. The common question is: "When will you be headed back?" Meaning, heading back HOME, wherever you are from, invariably somewhere in the north.
Now we have an answer: July 23. We figured it out, piece by piece, hope by hope, one decision at a time, one conversation at a time. Ten thousand prayers. We are going home. Home is now Middlebury, Vermont, where a condo in a quiet neighborhood waits for us, a home across the street from the trails of Battell Woods, where I will spend my days among oaks and maples, birches and pines. HOME.
Faith really does happen in retrospect. I can see the path only after I have blazed it; oh, that was the fork I should have taken, I ended up here instead but if I did not have to double back and add mileage to the journey, I would have missed...it's too soon to finish that sentence. More blog posts to come on that. I am still on the path.