Before a great vision can become reality there may be difficulty. Before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. As a new plant breaks the ground with great difficulty, foreshadowing the huge tree, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dreams. Out of Chaos, Brilliant Stars are Born.I Ching, Hexagam #3
I’m moving. I’ve been in the process of moving for the past eight weeks, but the truck actually pulls up on Thursday. Granted, I’m only moving three blocks, but as I learned back in my aquarium days, the worst parts of moving, be it a home or a fishtank, apply whether it’s moving across a room or across country. No, that isn’t really true, but it’s close.
I packed my books first, over the course of a month. That’s sixteen boxes. Everything else pretty much fits into another five boxes, give or take (some stuff I’m just carrying over in shopping bags over the course of a few days) which gives some sense of my priorities. For that matter, when I listed the furniture to be moved, five of the eleven items were bookcases of various kinds.
The new apartment has slightly less square footage (and 30% less rent), but a lot of built-in storage space, and I’ve been feeling like its time to downsize anyway, so I’m getting rid of a few things. My dining room hutch/buffet, and my mother’s wedding china, which was in it. My couch, which is tired and needs replacing (with the rent reduction, I can afford to replace some things down the road). My rolltop desk, which I have loved dearly; it took months of looking to find one I loved and could afford (there was a blonde oak antique with porcelain drawer pulls that I drooled over, but it was way out of my range). I figure, I’ve enjoyed it for 40+ years, that’s good enough. The hardest part was finding out the Salvation Army didn’t want it. “It has a lot of scratches and worn spots.” Well, duh. Every time I deal with the Salvation Army, I end up pissed off. I admire the organization and they do important work, but damn, they’re just annoying as hell.
I’ve thrown out buckets of stuff. It’s amazing to me that, in such a small space, I’ve generated so much junk.
In any case, I’m unable to read, so I’m declaring a moratorium on posting. I’ve been trying to read Tony Hoaglund’s Twenty Poems that could Save America to prepare for next year’s Pushcart read, but my concentration is elsewhere. I jump up in the middle of the night thinking, “I have to clean the vegetable bin!” or “I need to make up the footprints to figure out where things go!” so my mind is on, shall we say, the distinctly non-poetic. I should have chosen something much lighter for this time.
I don’t do well with change. So I’m expecting a few rough weeks. And it’s summer; dealing with heat and humidity is not my strength (though today is beautiful, and the forecast promises more for the immediate future; this is why I live in Maine, the truly awful stuff is kept to a minimum, and six months of winter seems a fair trade).
I’ll be back, probably sooner rather than later.
The hard part’s over; all that’s left is unpacking and readjusting, which is… come to think of it, the other hard part. Everything requires mindfulness, from coming around a corner so I don’t knock the dictionary stand into the wall or remembering where I put the laundry stuff or adjusting windows and shades for a different light pattern.
Everyone I dealt with, from junk-removal people to moving people (I met my first female mover! So happy!) to the cable installer (I played the old lady card and paid the $50 fee) was wonderful – pleasant, capable, on time, helpful.
What I love so far: looking out a huge window and seeing people! My window overlooked a parking garage before, and while I was grateful the top of a large tree gave me something to look at besides cars and asphalt (and the occasional illicit drunken-teenager party), this is so much better. There’s a rooftop garden across the street with some art sculptures and apparently some kind of doggie patch, not sure how that works, but that’s someone else’s problem. If I turn a little I can see Back Bay in the distance; turn a different way and there’s the harbor, or at least a glimpse of it. And below are sidewalks with people, so I can tell if the snow is sticking or if it’s colder than the temperature indicates.
I also love how they’ve painted: it’s basically beige, but before you groan, there are accent walls of a lovely deep earth-tone blue and darker brown, and there’s little wall space anyway what with all the cabinets and built-in-shelves and windows and closet, so it’s really quite nicely done. Much better than the typical cheap-apartment-eggshell-white. The building skews towards artists since it’s in the heart of the ArtsDistrict and near the art school (the lobby offers exhibits for First Friday art walks), so maybe that was a way to make it more appealing.
What I’m not sure about yet: I don’t understand the shower. I don’t get the aversion to cabinet doors; all the cabinets (and there are tons of them) are open, which is fine, but… does that mean I have to dust daily to keep ahead of it?
Back to unpacking. Then I’m going to need to evaluate needs, now that I’ve thrown out a bunch of stuff. Right now, I’m thinking I need a good reading chair with a nice standing light and table, a small kitchen/dining table, and a microwave, which I finally have room for.
Ok, I’m calling it: I am officially moved. I’ve bought all the stuff I need to buy (with a couple of minor exceptions), have changed all my addresses, have all my books better organized than they have been in years (language/writing on the dictionary stand, contemporary fiction in the corner by my reading chair – yes, I have a reading chair, where I can look out at Back Bay or at Congress Street, the best of both worlds), nonfiction over there, all the books I’d rather not display to just anyone on the shelves in the corner (you know, garbage novels, murder mysteries, golden age science fiction, Miss Manners), and I’ve cleaned up, thrown away all the boxes and packings and detritus. I’m very, very pleased with it all.
But I’m still monumentally confused. Not about anything in particular – I’ve got the bus routes down (not that they’re that different), I finally figured out the shower (and really like it now that I understand how to use all the weird stuff), it’s all a familiar neighborhood, the neighbors I’ve met are really nice. I’m just… disoriented, anxious. I guess two weeks isn’t enough to de-acclimate twenty-plus years. Imagine what people who move a lot farther, and for less voluntary reasons, go through.
I’ll try to remember to look back on this in a few months, see if I’ve calmed down yet.