Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good to be home

I had meant this post to be a belated recipe from my birthday, but when I sat down this morning, it didn't seem right. There is another, more pertinent item of news to share, one that also explain my tardiness.

We've moved! Again. Let us not have to do that again for a good little while. We are so ready to settle our feet in the sand. We were ready the last time. But the stars were apparently not so aligned.

Last time we wanted to move slowly, but got rushed by necessity. This time, we took a week to even sleep there. Now the kitchen is functioning, the bedrooms unpacked, the tomato and squash in the garden are planted and watered well, and the books line the shelves in their usual rainbow-colored pattern of order. It is so good to be home. It feels like we are really, finally, truly moving in to our new-old home called California. I even preset the radio buttons in my car to local stations. Only took a year and a half.

Our final moving day (and our first night in the new house) just happened to be Summer Solstice. Why does that make me giddy? We did not plan it that way. In fact, I didn't even know what day it was for all the work we were doing. It is as if the stars and the moon have aligned. As if our worlds, of past and present and future were finally falling into place.

Maybe (probably not) it is my lucky elephant, which I acquired/inherited from Grammie last year. I have given this mammalian beauty a place of prominence in the hutch, centered and standing on the highest shelf, only immediately more eye-catching than the gorgeous pedestal bowl my glass-loving uncle gifted me for my birthday, as seen below.

Westmoreland circa 1960's in Paneled Grape

The house itself is small and odd. It was build in the 40's as a barn, according neighborly reports. I can tell. The bathroom is an obvious add-on and is unpleasantly situated off the kitchen. There are details missed completely which make me think the place was converted (and later, 'fixed up') by some very high, drunk, or detrimentally unaware contractors. For example, we have to open the oven to open one of the drawers. That's just kitchen.

A detail of our front door--covered in these carved squares.

In comparison, this house is humble next to the poise and stature of the Victorian of six months ago. But good, humble things do abound. Instead of just one pint-sized 'promising' lemon tree, there is one huge lemon tree, an orange tree, and two other citrus trees (of unknown lineage) in the yard. There are sweet pink roses and grass instead of asphalt. There is a garage. There is a bay window. There is the delight of a front door, with its carved wood and large round knocker (I ignore the tacky paint from previous careless repair work). And most importantly, the house feels good. The energy is at once intuitive and grounded, creative and sustainable. Just what I need.

I do miss the church bells, but our new house backs up against the Catholic cemetery, and so we will periodically get to hear a graveside service or two. At least there is ceremony close by. That seems to matter more than I thought it would--our proximity to mundane holiness.

As for the signs--the skies, the sun, the stars--there was the solstice of course and there was the duo of barn owls a little before sunset while we were moving in. They were flying south from the Valley Oaks in the cemetery. If the Solstice was my present-future sign, how the seasons turn on to another stage of life, then these owls were the wedding of past (nighttime) and present-- alpineglow glory of daylight affirmation.


  1. what a lovely last paragraph. i'm not sure i've ever seen barn owls, but i'd like to now.

  2. Thanks Kym. Barn owls are a lovely sight--tawny and white, monkey-faced and somehow less penetrating than, say, a Great Horned Owl. They fly like moths, erratic and silent, but for their periodic clicking as they fly, or their prolonged shriek when they dive for prey.