leave old job....leave old home...enter new home...engage new life...maintain what matters

Thursday, June 23, 2011


We accepted an offer on our house, Saturday,  second day on the market, within 5% of our aggressive asking price, with our preferred Aug 1 closing date.  We’re impossibly fortunate in this slumping market.   We’ll receive more than enough to cover the costs of building our new home (The House the Land Built) and still achieve our “no debt” goal, enabling us to engage the new life.   
Then why do I feel so broken?  
As David Bromberg sang, ‘I must have someone else’s blues.  I swear I don’t know why.’  Shouldn’t I feel like clinking glasses with friends and neighbors. “Yippee!  It’s over!”? 
So what would Amelan do?  After all, my novel’s 17 year old protagonist is the Mendering, claiming to mend anything broken by applying his 5 bridges of mending.  Now you may be wondering if I’ve leaped completely off sanity’s edge:  listening to a fictional character, and a 17 year old one at that?   Well, here it is then:  I vividly remember the day, the very scene where the characters took over my story.    Summer 2004, three months into the first of seven drafts,  timid Dr. Nancy Fobair---the story’s only character from ‘the world as we know it’ amongst the Members of the Corridor---dares to tell me, ‘that’s not what happened, let me tell you what did’.   From then on, writing was easy, if not a little unsettling.  In some ways Amelan Beaver Creek is more real to me than the staged sunroom I’m sitting in (if you want to gawk:   I feel a little awkward ‘channeling’ Amelan real time but here goes. 
“We begin, of course, at the First Bridge of Mending,” says Amelan.  “Name the Pain.”  Pain?  I feel like I just crawled out the window after a car wreck.   There’s no one pain.  First, my chest is gashed, heart bleeding: I’m going to miss so many people.  Alby, my next door neighbor of 15 years, just gave me a thumbs down from his front porch.  I rushed to the sunroom window. 
“What’s wrong?,” I asked.
 “That’s my sad face,” Alby said.
 “I know.” 
All of sudden its real.  August 1.  Gone.  Returning only as ‘friend’ but not ‘neighbor’.  I cannot describe the welcome, the connection,  I’ve experienced on this 4100 block of Harriet Avenue for 25 years.    Kicked out of my house Friday morning for a showing, I walked sidewalks.  Alleys.  So many trees, shrubs and flowers I’d planted.  The maples around our Judson Church, arching over the sidewalk:  I won’t prune them into lushness again.  My first prairie, 4117 Harriet---planted to heal the flotsam and jetsam that spewed from drilling a 200’ deep test well for the churches geo-thermal heat system---now overrun with the invasives of my neglect: thistles,  reed canary grass, ash trees.  The stout culver’s root in Al’s boulevard garden, the snowberry rambling over Ray’s back yard, both dug from our yard and replanted.  My neighborhood legacy will grow on without me.
There’s the stomach pain, the angst of uncertainty.  Would some other buyer give us more $$$ for our house, for our grueling efforts?  We’ll never know.  Unless the deal falls through due to buyer’s inspection or financing or failing to sell their home.  More stomach pain.
Mostly it’s my feet that hurt.  They love to dance with Linda.   Its magic, really, our relationship; each of us following our path in life, yet somehow finding a way forward together.  Really together, rarely settling for a compromising tit-for-tat.  Rather we each hold our dreams as we waltz together toward the light.   I wouldn’t be surprised if one day---when we have no use for our old bones---our feet simply float off the dance floor.  Luminous beings.   Just love.
Right now we’re not dancing.  Hard as leaving is for me, for Linda its more so.  After a good dinner at a  friend’s table, I’m always ready to leave before she is, winking, tugging on her sleeve like a 3 year old.  For good or for ill I live more in the future.  I so want to get down to our Land.  Walk amongst the white indigo’s.
 I couldn’t believe what I beheld from our Land driveway Saturday as dust billowed behind our 20’ U-Haul truck.  Acres, literally acres, of white indigos, Baptisia alba, blooming for the first time.  On this, the fourth spring since we planted our 40 acre prairie, they rose from the ashes of an April controlled burn and shone out their glory.  Its toward them I’m called.  Somehow, I know they are part of the story, the story of wild hope for humanity.  

So maybe this is the pain:  I’m torn in two.  I want to dance forward with Linda AND dance upon the hills in the green, green grass of June.   And this, perhaps, is enough know for now. I’ve crossed the first bridge of mending.  I’ve named the pain.  Once again I need to paddle the river of AND. 
Thank you, Amelan.  I’m not ready for your remaining bridges of mending.  To name the pain is enough.   I’m a lucky man, so much to love, so much love my way.  And, in spite of what the apostle Paul said, love hurts sometimes.  Its alive and beating after all.   Yet I’ve finally learned one thing:  ‘tis better to dance toward the light, no matter how painfully bright, than to hide in a hole in the night. 

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