It is Labour Day weekend and summer is coming to a close. Summer is not quite over yet – my son went into the ocean today, fully dressed! However, it is definitely on the way out – I was standing on the same beach today wearing a woolen poncho.
This is our first summer in our new hometown. In our first week, before a lack of summer rain turned the lawn brown, the kids and I went outside our door and I taught my son the names of some of the plants in our yard: self heal, plantain, chickweed, St. John’s wort, wild mustard, red and white clovers. I taught him how to pick some of these generous weeds and he quickly and joyfully filled a bowl. We went indoors again and my son sorted his plants into a smaller glass bowl and poured olive oil over the plants so that all the goodness of the wild herbs could infuse the oil. We were all smiles. Already we felt like we were home.
But summer did not quite go according to plan! One week later we received the news that our new house was selling! We would have to move again in six months. Over the next couple of weeks, as my husband and I tried to figure out what our new plan would be, I realized for the first time how destabilizing such a big move as the one we had just made is. Even in the midst of the unknown, though, I would look out our windows at the giant trees all around us, and calm would take me over again. As difficult as it was to look at packing up all over again, to think of the great undertaking for my husband of setting up yet another studio, and to have no idea where we would be putting up our Christmas tree, I was immensely grateful that we received the bad news two weeks after our move rather than two weeks before. Would we have shipped off all our belongings, would we have packed our family into our car and driven up the coast to our new location, if we had been certain that our move was only temporary? I hope we would have but I cannot honestly say that we would have. Taking a leap into the unknown is scary. Would we have gone for it? I will be forever thankful that I didn’t have that stroke of bad luck to find out.
We planned for a calm summer where we could slow down. It turned out to be jam packed with paperwork and uncertainty as we looked for a new home and also took care of many other bureaucratic glitches. Still, the kids were happy to run around outdoors. Our son who would never play outside on his own was asking to go outdoors long before I was ready go out with him. He discovered, much to his surprise, that he loves nature. Our daughter was delighted with our new location, too, except for the tearful wailing when her brother would go outside while she was stuck indoors with me until my work was done. In the midst of our turmoil over an insecure housing situation (far more common in the Pacific Northwest than many of us would like. We talk about the cost of housing up here Vancouver way more often than we talk about the weather! No social gathering is complete without this conversation), the plants, the trees and the ocean kept filling me with peace. I absolutely love where we our living!
Our family also went to New York City for one and a half weeks this summer. Such a fantastic city. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a real highlight. Central Park is lovely. We also had the opportunity to meet up with several friends we haven’t seen for some time, and that was quite special. But the noise, the buildings, the traffic, the lights. They are all so much. I missed the trees and the long moments of complete silence, interrupted only by the birds. Always, always I am reminded how much the trees and the plants fill my heart and heal the parts of me that may be tired or wounded.
Having begun to make our herbal salve in our first week, we left our herbs soaking in the oil far longer than I had intended. I had planned for two weeks before my son strained out the herbs and we melted the bees wax into the oil to finish up our salve. Instead, the plants sat for two months. That is just how long it took to secure our next home. The salve didn’t suffer any. I don’t think our family did either. We are tremendously excited about our upcoming move (minus the packing and the ACTUAL move) and my son is thrilled that he has made his very own herbal cream practically all by himself. He is already talking about how we can make the salve a little differently next summer. (Always the inventor and improver, he is). Next summer will be different in other ways as well… Perhaps it will be more calm. Maybe we will be moving more slowly. If it doesn’t pan out, though, that will be okay: we will be surrounded by the trees, the plants and ocean. What could be more amazing than that?!