The house went up for sale yesterday. This is another first. This will always be the first house we owned. As such it is both a singular structure and a pivot point in life. Every place that came before this was intentionally or inherently temporary–the rhythm of our migrations, the vagaries of the economy having defined our quarters. Everything that comes after this will forever be après la première maison.
It is amazing to us that we have been here twelve years, but we have left so many places this leaving seems natural, even delayed. Many around us, who share neither our itinerant heritage nor our inclination to wander about on boats, have a hard time digesting an unforced up, up, and away. Twain said it best for us:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
But natural feelings are yin and yang. While we don’t love the “old homestead,” we did put a lot of ourselves into it (particularly in the last few months as we preened its plumage). While we aren’t happy with the area’s growth and crowding (we are no longer on the metropolitan margins, they now extend miles beyond us), we know the area to the degree a GPS isn’t required for us to find our way around the inevitable and ubiquitous infrastructure patching. And if we love something about this place, it’s the garden and the Shenandoah in the distance.
Someday, we will put a lot of ourselves into another place. Someday, we’ll find another place on a metropolitan margin. Someday, we’ll wend our way through streets as familiar as these. Someday, we’ll nurture another garden, find another horizon.
But for now we … push off, and sitting well in order, smite the sounding furrows; for [our] purpose holds…to sail…*
* “Ulysses,” Tennyson, 1833