Things I Didn't Photograph II
It amazes me how I seem to move according to a cycle. As the year flows, I notice feelings of intense emotional deja vu. I feel that I have have walked through my emotions before. They are coming around again.
I don't know if it's all the graduations, or all the weddings, but summer feels like transition to me. More than that, the lilacs on the tree outside my side door, fading now, remind me of my first days and weeks in my new house, one year ago. It's the same house I'm packing up now, slowly saying goodbye a little more each day.
This is a good move, and an adventurous one. It is a move punctuated by the unknown (much like last year's move, actually). But this move will take me far away from the house with the purple porch, my haven for the past year. This time, I'm spreading my wings and flying to Portland, praying that the runway is long.
Last July, I wrote about some things I didn't photograph. This year, I'm writing a few more, a little breathless at the similarities.
I'm sitting at my sunny kitchen table in my purple porch house. As I sit here, it strikes me that my mornings at this table are finite, ending soon. Even as I sit here, I'm saying goodbye to this single girl house, to the person I am in this place.
I've been thinking a lot about goodbyes lately, and though it's harder, I think I prefer knowing they are coming. I prefer to walk through the last few days with meaning and intention, knowing that they are the last few days.
The chance to choose my goodbyes is a luxury denied to many, I know. I'm keenly aware of it now. My yard sale boxes are not simply full of stuff, but of visions I've had, things that were once purchased by the girls I once was. While I love them still, I'm realizing that we've lost touch. I'm realizing that is how it should be.
We sit on a boat together, drinking in the heat. It's early June, but it feels like the middle of summer.
After waiting as long as I can, cooking on the deck, I plunge into the water, joining my friends and their two kids who are floating in an inner tube.
We make mimosas and eat chicken salad and talk. Sometimes, we are quiet. I am at peace in my bikini.
The water sparkles, and we put on more sunscreen as our shoulders and noses turn pink. The six year old cozies up to me for several hugs before we part. "I'll miss you," he says. "You should come back on the boat with us."
For a while, I am not thinking about the future, or my to-do list. For a while, I am fully present.
As we park in front of my parents' house, I am almost sure that I've caught a glimpse of her, through the glass door. It's just a beat before I remember that she's not coming to greet us. The lovely man I'm taking to meet my parents will never meet my dog.
I turn to him and he takes my hand as we walk through the front door. I hear her footsteps on the wood floors, even as I watch him chat with my mom and my dad. She would have rushed up and licked his fingers, sniffing and vetting and asking him to pet her. She would have liked him.
We sit outside, eating and talking. We play guitar, and Mille Bornes, and as we do, I am comforted by a presence hanging over the day.
She is everywhere with us.
How do I decide which books to leave out and which to pack? Even though I know I won't have much time in the coming weeks and my pile of books on the floor by my bed has been barely touched, I know that as soon as I seal the box I will want one of the books inside. I will suddenly need to read an essay. It will be vital. But I can never tell which book it will be, and when the box is opened, the moment is passed. I will wait for the craving again.
For now, I try to anticipate my own needs. I prepare myself to lean into the longing when it comes.