A bit and a piece

Day 1: Pacific Time.

I never know what time it is anymore. My phone is on military time and my brain is on Michigan time. Not one piece of me has aligned with Seattle time, though I welcome the ease at which I wake up at dawn.

I am wrapping up my first full day here and I am beyond exhausted. I can’t blame it on this one day, though, so I’ll call it the week and leave it at that. Packing up one life and moving it across ten states in six days. That’s work, whether I’ve got checks coming in or not.

I walked more today than I have in months. This is life in the big city.

The lady and I are staying with two of her friends. A couple. We’re crashing, with our four-legged friend and their own pair of fur-balls, in their newly purchased home. Their first place together has become our “couch” to surf. I actively ooze gratitude.

We’re smack dab in the middle of all that is South Seattle. Busy main streets are sidled by quiet, sleepy ones adorned with small houses and small(er) yards. Lush, unkempt plant life adorns the city. With each passing step, a million shades of green.

I am overwhelmed and under-slept. I am over-stimulated and in dire need of kale, alone time, and yoga (never. enough. yoga.). Still, I like this new place. It is busy and sometimes gritty. It is strange and unfamiliar. It is not Ann Arbor. Not for a second.


Day 6: The view from here.

The past six days are all that I know of this place (beyond bits of memory from a brief previous visit). This city is immense. So much more than I knew or could have imagined. It is a vast landscape made up of waves of color. Hills of all sizes spotted with buildings and green spaces.

I love it here, I say to myself confidently and, perhaps, prematurely. Still, I say it and I it resonates within as I wander outside, hiking up hills, taking in the view provided for me here. Wherever I look, if the sky will allow for it, my eyes meet mountains. The corners of my mouth turn up and my heart soars.

It’s not just the mountains, really. It’s everything surrounding me. Everything that, in this short time, I’ve managed to take in. The fact that our neighbors take family walks in the neighborhood with their sheep and that “Rocky,” the homeless (though not orphaned) pitbull gleefully greets everyone he encounters, his monstrous jaw turning up into a near-permanent smile.

In a strange city, it’s incredible how comfortable and supported I feel, even with the occasional bout of feeling completely and utterly overwhelmed by all that is life and change.

I have friends here. Good ones. And the lady friend does too. She has family, in fact, which in my opinion is sort of like a friend with a lifetime warranty.

Being miles and miles away from family and Midwest friends (legitimately, in what is not simply a six-month farm stint) weighs on my heart a bit, but in the end, it. Just. Is.

We leapt and now we’ve landed. Safely. Perhaps a little jostled from some minor turbulence (have I mentioned how painful it is to drive through all of Kansas in one day?), but with limbs and spirits intact. The latter piece is integral. Beyond that, though, we’ve got a new, magnificent place to explore, food to eat, people to meet, and a whole lot of patience and hope to muster up for the challenges that surely lie ahead.

On that note, back to the job hunt I go.

Buckets of rain

Marble-sized hail falls from above and I pause, taking a rest from sweeping the floor. It is our last day here in Michigan, and the sky is putting on a show. The thunder is loud, the rain is steady, and the radar flashing on the television displays a brilliant array of bold colors. Rumor is, tornadoes are near.

I haven’t seen a storm like this in what feels like ages. We were surely blessed with a thunderstorm (or four) on the farm, but nothing that amounted to this. This, ladies and gents is quite a show, and for that my eyes are thankful. Today is “T-day,” and there are no turkeys involved. It is the day in which we fastened a heavy box of metal to my poor, confused hatchback and loaded it up with what-has-become-our-lives in tangible form- the lot of it fitting into a 5×8 trailer (which somehow still feels like too much).

This whole process of winding down, sorting through, boxing up, is it’s own kind of perfect storm. My relationship has morphed into a version of bipolar disorder. One minute we’re doe-eyed, proclaiming our love for one another, the next we’re storming around the house (a near battlefield of orphaned belongings and box towers), ready to wrestle.

Just over a year ago, I downsized my life for a very different adventure, half of my belongings sent off to thrift stores and home with friends, the other half stuck into the corner of a basement to collect mildew and become forgotten about. This time though, it all felt just a bit more manageable. Like having a second child, I knew what I was in for.

Detachment is an ideal practice for times like these marked by movement, change, and endless goodbyes. I gave begun to feel well practiced at this; familiar with the routine. Set a date, enter the whirlwind of wrapping up another phase of your life, and pull away from the people who surround you. Enter the process of cutting ties, taking the time to snip each one carefully. Making sure to tack the loose end somewhere so that you know where to find it when you need it again.

I’ve become better at tossing things aside. Better at leaving great cities. It’s the leaving the ones you love bit that I somehow still struggle with. Whether a cat that’s been my companion for a seven years or the woman who raised me from a kitten myself, my heart feels the weight. My best pal says there’s no need for missing ‘til you’re gone and even then, well, there’s always something to make up for it. New people to love and places to see.

A brilliant mess of newness awaits me, to be sure. In this moment, one thing that comforts me is that we’ll all be sitting under a piece of the same brilliant sky.