The storm hit in the middle of the day, building quickly and dramatically. The wind gave little warning before blowing through and demanding the release of pollen from every single ponderosa pine for miles around. A chartreuse yellow cloud began to grow– blocking out the view and the sun in one determined swoop. The future generation of pine trees tried to get lucky with my eyes and nose, but only managed to tickle out a series of explosive sneezes. Thankfully the build gave warning and I was able to brace myself for impact. Motherhood has many gifts but carefree sneezing is not one of them.
As dramatically as possible, lightening coupled with thunder to announce the storms proximity— though, I’m sure it already knew that it had everyone’s attention. A few drops of rain to test the ground, then it just let loose and wild. Hail. Loud and rhythmic. Tiny little jawbreakers dancing on the deck, drowning out all other sounds. So deafening that everything felt silent. And dark as night, in the middle of the day.
The tempest was a welcomed distraction from my packing. In its demand for my attention, it gave relief to my thoughts. To the continuous monologue between my ears. The endless list of preparations and packing and purging and planning. The constant effort to stay focused on the logistics, instead of the self inflicted heartbreak of leaving this good life that I have created for myself in Oregon, for the unknowns of Vermont.
Tomorrow feels like the first step in that journey into the unknown. Tomorrow I’ll finish packing everything back into my little car–somehow tetrising “the essentials” of a single mom and a 2 year old boy, back in the same way it came out 2 months ago. Small potted plant in the cup holder, little stuffed bat in the door handle, snacks an arm’s length away, and a pile of crates and suitcases so big I have to avoid switching lanes.
Like the storm, the pandemic hit smack-dab in the middle of Life and demanded our attention. The moments before it hit I was completely content with my life, and if you would have asked me, I was certain that I would be spending the rest of my days in Portland. But the craziest part about a disruption in the smooth sailing, is that it shakes things up. Though I have formed so many priceless friendships, there is now this undeniably strong pull to be closer to family. The sacrifice is astronomical, and I haven’t allowed myself to even imagine how it will feel to pack up my life of 11 years without a proper goodbye. But as the tears start creeping toward my eyes, I must continuously shift my gaze and keep my eyes on the prize. Big family dinners and mundane weekends. New England winters and maple syrup. The land of Ben & Jerry and Bernie!
I’m scared shitless.
So I’ll just get back to my lists, and try to focus on one step at a time. First step is packing up the car, saying goodbye to some extraordinary friends at the “Bend House”, and heading back to Portland to face the real challenge. The packing. And purging. And planning. And preparing for this next huge chapter in my life.