Thursday, 1st of September, 2016
We arrived at our new home in Maine late in the afternoon. The girls bustled out of the car after the long drive and instead of going inside the house, walked up the slight steep into a pretty field with old apple trees and a sea view. The property is large, with lots of land for us to roam on, and it was significant to me that on arrival, that is what we wanted to immediately do. Walk the land. Elle was skipping with happiness for being free from the confines of her car seat. The field had recently been mowed, but I could see queen ann’s lace and red clover in fine patches here and there. I started imagining myself with a basket, collecting the clover for tea. Elle was very excited by the apple trees and declared that tomorrow when she got up she was going to eat an apple for breakfast. “So long as I can find one without too many crawlers in it.” She said. I reminded her not to eat any off the ground, and that old apple tree apples are often tough. Her enthusiasm was not diminished and we thought she was darling for being enlightened.
After enjoying the field we went into the barn to explore the games room located in the top half. What fun it is to have a red barn! The girls had seen a photo of the interior in advance and it had kindled their enthusiasm and we knew it was going to be a highlight. Up a rustic set of stairs we dashed, as I ascended, I was watching that the girls followed safely behind. As I neared the top, for not looking where I was going, I bumped my head lightly on the trap door. The girls thought it was funny, they had not seen a horizontal door on stairs like this before. I showed them how to open and secure it, then we entered the games room. Happiness engulfed them as they involved themselves all the games.
I knew that the children of the owner of the house had been working on this games room throughout summer. It is a fabulous older child entertainment spot, with foosball and a ping-pong table, a sofa and loft beds. I appreciated their efforts but also in part I was sorry to see they had painted a sheer layer of white over the rustic wooden walls and that there was carpet down on the plywood floor. I could not stop my inner voice from commenting that I liked the raw rustic wood so much better. It was a reminder to me that we all have our own tastes. It was then that I realized how living with other’s people’s things is in part good, in part challenging. It is good because, one can not change it, and it is bad, for the same reason. Isn’t life wonderful.
After a short time in the barn we let ourselves into the house. I have to say I was both grateful and disappointed too. I am not sure how that works? But it is true. Some things felt really wonderful, other things felt not suiting. This is part and parcel of committing to something through virtual communication. The things that really get’s missed in such arrangements, and is so important, is the smell of the house and the sound of the environment. We exist in a world obsessed with visuals, but it is only one guiding component of life, and should not greatly out-weigh all else. I am realizing more and more that I use the sense of smell to direct my being and that smell can be developed or lost. I seem to have developed mine and as we explored the space I could detect a stale smell, not in all the rooms, just two. It is pertinent to employ your nose! I became a hound, trying to pinpoint precisely what it was that did not smell good. Sniffing, sniffing, sniffing, I am sure Cam thought I was mad. Then I knew I had found it. Upholstered furniture can be a sponge, soaking up lives. As I stood smelling the sofa, I could see so much in my mind’s eye. None the less it is our home for the next while, and if things feel like a bother, I will direct a positive frame of mind and complimentary actions. “Well, I will wash those cushion covers, and that will help, and burn some essential oil and incense.” I declared.
I suppose it is best to speak first about what one appreciates, not these small complaints, although I feel a responsibility to be whole, which means sharing it all. Firstly though I should have probably exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, the view from the kitchen area is amazing!” and as the comments in the guest book say, the view is outstanding. We are living on a glassy bay in Maine. The evergreen trees hug a rocky shoreline of water washed and sun bathed grey rocks, it is stunning. Boats are dappled here and there, and long limbed birds come and go with grace and ease, making it all incredibly picturesque.
Within minutes Maya was seated at the grand piano and it was then that one of my life dreams came true. Up until this point she has only played a keyboard, and to see her at the piano made my heart flutter. Our daughter plays the piano beautifully, and this piano is really something special. Her straight spine and long silky hair touching the seat she sat upon made for an elegant scene.
Despite these moments of pure gratitude, as I scanned the house, I was very conscious, of an inner critique. I was surveying the space that would facilitate our new life, and I needed to feel like it would nurture us like our last house had. One should not have expectations, but I needed to know, “Will we be comfortable here?” Living in someone’s vacation house for a week on vacation is one thing, but 10 months living here, well… I knew I had some work to do. Mostly this is because I am me, I like things to feel fresh, and loved. As we all know there are degrees of everything including house love. There is something that makes me want to apologize for this, and clarify that it is not that things have to be fancy or designer, I just like things to be thoughtfully done and well taken care of, but yes, aesthetic is important to me too. Not even a specific aesthetic, there is just a sense of something works or it does not. Something has been placed with care. I suppose one could politely say, I was working out what needed to be done to feel settled.
The kitchen is my favorite room in any home and as I opened and closed all the drawers, inspecting what was where, I stood still and stared. “Why in the world are there so many utensils?” I said to myself. I know how it happens, oh yes I know, but as I looked at it all, I could hear my inner voice, like a nutty squirrel, “Tut, tut, tut, less is more, less is More!” Opening and closing of drawers happened for a second time, just to be sure I was seeing what I was seeing, then I was engulfed. I had to tidy.
Two drawers full of haphazard tea towels, placemats and napkins had to be folded that very moment. I started muttering. “It takes only a second longer to fold a tea towel neatly as it does to shove it in a messy drawer.” So there I sat on the floor folding. There was a lot to fold, but I had taken the edge off. This is not compulsive my friends, this is efficient and grateful. Did you know it is possible to be relaxed and organized? In fact folding linens is relaxing, if you are zen with it. Taking care of beautiful things in a mindful way, shows you care about earth’s resources. There is no time like the present, so I just got in there and did it. Someone else however would not care in the slightest, and not even see it as a mess, and that is fine too. The small differences between each of us is what makes the world go round, so for differences I am also grateful. And I can see now, this whole experience is about discovery. Change allows for discovering new aspects to yourself, family, and the lives of others.
It is very clear, I like to clean and organize.
My next job was to take down all the sheer polyester curtains. I knew right away it would open up the windows allowing us to absorb more of the goodness. Doing this made a difference, the rooms looked more spacious, light and fresher. Each window has a blind thankfully, so removing the opaque layer, did not detract from privacy or insulation in Winter. Cam did not say a word as I walked around the house removing curtain rods and vintage synthetic panels and piling each room’s worth in a neat bunch. All the rooms have numerous windows, and storage. To make it easy on myself to restore when it comes time to move out, I put each room’s curtains in a corresponding cupboard.
At some point Elle had opened her suitcase of clothes and dug out her bathing suit. “Let’s go for a swim!” she said excitedly. It seemed late for swimming, but I said I would take her across the road to the water. It was then I noticed more apple trees and wildflowers on the water’s edge. The owner said this land belonged to the house and that it was a great spot for a picnic. It really was so incredibly pretty. Like a dream.
The tide was low and the mud flat was especially muddy. Cam, Elle and I seemed to manage fine, but Maya’s boots began to sink and stick. I think it was her attitude? It was like the mud knew there was something within that needed dislodging. When she started to behave like a goose, the mud wanted to give her a lesson. I’ve not experienced mud quite like this before, but it very quickly proved itself to be the ultimate barometer. The next second she fell right onto her bottom with a big splat. Hands and wrists were sunken in the sludge. Oh my goodness, it was a sight. It is moments like this we are given a split second choice, or perhaps we are not, perhaps it is in these occasions, that response can be completely unconscious, and whatever needs to be expressed will be. Our reactions are everything, they make us who we are, and I am sorry to say, Maya was furious. She got angry, ever so angry. Standing up, covered in the stinky goop, she was beside herself. “I hate it here! She declared, stomping away from the spot she landed. Her face was as cross as can be, her fists were clenched and covered in the thick brown sediment globs that were like boxing gloves. Indeed, that was the release which needed to be.
It must be reaffirmed here, that Maya was incredibly excited to move to Maine, and it was her choice to do so. This moment of landing in the mud however allowed her to release any latent fears that may have been lurking beneath the transition. A move like this is huge. Many of us are not even aware of our shadow self and Maya’s outburst seemed very cathartic and wholesome. Either that, or she just detests mud. Oh golly, but who could hate mud?
Cam and I laughed, we could not help it. Sometimes when the very worst thing happens, which for Maya is unexpectedly getting wet and dirty, all you can do is laugh. Anger will not solve the problem, so better the experience of landing in mud end in humor. We quickly had to wipe the smiles off our faces as Maya was clearly distressed. With sincere sympathy we tried to console her, but she could not be pacified.
“I want to go back to the house, now!” She yelled at me.
We had just driven 8 hours, and the last thing I wanted to do was scrape mud off Maya’s backside. “Maya, we are only going to be down here a moment, and you are muddy already, so let’s just enjoy ourselves another 10 minutes, then we will go back. You can wash your hands right here in the water.” I said. “You might as well just look on the bright side and laugh!” I added.
This gave Maya the opportunity to be very annoyed, and since the mud could not be spoken to, she let all the frustration out on me. Well such is life. Next time I will say, “Go ahead and yell at the mud!” Not long after, we came home and cleaned up. I hosed Maya off, then helped her peel away the wet layers.
Once recovered, we went to the co-op to buy some milk. Oh and what good milk it was too! The lady working behind the counter was a familiar face from past visits. I had appreciated her energy previously, and so we spoke.
“I am not sure if you remember us? We just moved here today!” I said.
“I do remember you.” she replied. I was glad she did, because I liked her a lot.
The co-op is going to be a place I go to for everything. Food, friendship and …. well who knows what else?
Back at the house again I was letting it all sink in. In part I was tired and likely feeling over sensitive from this life evolution. My nostrils were twitching, and so I walked around with the sage stick I had packed for this purpose. Smudging felt good, grounding and affirmative. I know after a week of settling it will feel better.
The girls were very much looking forward to bed after two very big days. They are back to sharing a bedroom again as they did for four of the five years we live at Windsor Place. As I helped Elle into her Pajamas she said. “I don’t like this house as much as our old house.” I looked at her and appreciated her honesty. “We will make the best of it.” I said. “When your things arrive in the moving truck next week, that will help.” With kisses placed and lights turned out I could hear them giggling. “Ah, they are sleeping together again.” I mused. “This will be good.” I said to myself. Their laughter and sisterly chatter was a delightful sound reminding me that in just one day, things can go up and down and inside out and any which way. You just have to be along for the ride.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue.
2 thoughts on “14. Arriving At Our New Home”
What an adventure. I like how you nurture your daughter’s honest feelings. I think it’s important that we hold the space for our kids to express themselves like so.
Thank you for reading along Kelly.