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April 20, 2010

The Awful Wonderful of Moving

Red Rooster Winery, Naramata, BC

In all its awfulness, there's something wonderful, still, about moving.

The obvious wonderful is the illusion of a new beginning. I feel the happiness of a space and that's how I decide to take it. Do you? I've looked at so many places now having moved so many times that I can tell almost instantaneously whether it's the right place all by the feeling I get from being in the rooms.  There's a mood to every structure. It's as if all the emotions of all the people who have ever lived in the place combine to create a collective mood and it's either generally happy or just a little off.

Yesterday, I began to move some boxes into my old, new cabin. It's very sweet and in need of cleaning. So, I swept the chunky dark stairs that lead to the loft and got out the bucket I've been meaning to get rid of for at least a decade given to me by a former crazy landlord, the one who started vacuuming the stairs on my moving day. It has one of those mops with the cotton fabric strips that you slop all over the floor in an effort to pick up just one crumb and finally, in vain, you just reach down and grab the crumb pitching  it out the nearest open door.

I felt a little sinking feeling knowing that I'm returning to no full stove and no full fridge. No more ice cream. Note to self: Eat as much of the chocolate strawberry swirl before Thursday!

I carefully climbed to the top of the stairs, bucket in one hand, the other gripping the steepness of the incline still wondering where I'm going to store my beautiful bed, and mopping down all surface space around the six inch mattress that's in the loft. I lift it up suspiciously checking for tarantulas or whatever, underneath. It's clear.

There's comfort in re-arranging your furniture in your mind in the space before it arrives. Will the couch really fit there? How will my two chairs look beside the bookcase. Look how the ceramic frog I bought in Fairhaven when I went that time with Michelle is so perfect for the wooden bench out front. I will have to clean the sliding glass door and a little WD40 wouldn't hurt either. I picture being able to have friend's visit me again. Wow. I didn't know I could see the water from my kitchen window through the fir trees. I feel like I'm playing house, like I'm on a little adventure. It's small but it's completely private close to the main house on four acres.

My new landlady knocks and tries to give me a kettle. "I have a kettle," I say. "I have an electric kettle. I know what you're up to, I say jokingly.  "Don't go unloading your stuff on me. Look around. Do I have space?"

She then lets it slip that she's 87 years old. I'm shocked. I guestimated she was in her late 70s as I eyed her up and down trying to determine whether she would be around for a while.  Upon hearing this disturbing news I grab her by both shoulders and say, "You are going to remain healthy, aren't you?" in the same way a mother might demand that her children eat their broccoli.  "No strokes allowed. No heart attacks. No losing your mind. You're allowed to be deaf, as you are, and that's it.  Together, we are going to pretend that you're 40. It's a great age to stay. Nod your head." She laughs.

She seems pretty feisty for 87. I liked her instantly when she pronounces that novel, Eat, Pray, Love that she picked up at the Anglican Church garage sale to be "crap." "Oh please," she said, "I couldn't bare to read about her going on and on, crying on the bathroom floor, in the never-ending descriptions of her divorce." I laugh.

We tour her house. She insists on showing me the computer set-up as I realized there was a distinct possibility that I'd just agreed to rent a place that had no computer access and none possible. I look at some of the interesting oil paintings she has of places that no longer exist on Salt Spring - little grocery stores, the way the harbour in front of Moby's Pub used to be and the beautiful view out her front window. She has a massive wood-burning stove from Norway that's very ornate and I really like the feel of her house too.

She has a fenced garden, to keep out the voracious deer, and she paces herself, weeding, sitting, weeding, sitting, walking around observing. "I'm preparing the rest of the garden to welcome the Wisteria tree's blossoms," she says.

I let the beauty of that observation linger a while in my mind thinking back to how Michael Kluckner once described the Wisteria tree outside his Craftsman cottage in Kerrisdale he lived in prior to his move in the early 90s to a gentleman farm in Langley. I'm not sure where he is now. 

Having tested out the high speed wireless access to success, I leave, feeling happier than I've been in a while.


Susan said...

It sounds so beautiful! In a way, it's exactly what I long for. So much quiet! Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Tonight, I'd have to agree, I'm feeling like it's pretty heavenly! But, you'd get bored...as I do occasionally.