|Planting the garden in early June|
When we packed up to move here from Boulder, lightening our possessions and putting everything we wanted to keep into a U-Haul, we got rid of at least half of what we had accumulated during the fifteen years we had been together. We are both minimalists, and it's one thing I appreciate so much about him; he's not one to want lots of "stuff" around him. We got rid of much of our furniture and have perched lightly here in Bellingham, preparing for a day like today.
Our rented apartment has been mostly very satisfactory, an upstairs corner unit, one of 26, with an enormous tree outside our front porch that shades us from the sun. Of course, here in this part of the country close to the Canadian border and the Pacific Ocean, we don't actually have a lot of sun most of the year. Right now, however, it's been sunny and warm, with lots of sunshine and the tree has been doing its thing. I will miss it.
In the time we've been here, we have had several tenants around us come and go. When we first moved in, we had a divorced man right next door who occasionally had his three kids, ten-year-old twin boys and their younger sister. They could be pretty rambunctious, but they were amenable to bribery. I told them I would reward them handsomely come Christmas if they would keep the noise level down, and when they did, for three holiday seasons they received gift certificates from me. They were at the time the only kids around. They grew up and spent their time glued to their electronics after a while and the problem was solved permanently. When they moved last year, they all thanked me for being such a good neighbor, and I too felt grateful to have known them.
Then a three-year-old moved in last fall, right downstairs and one apartment over. He is a normal little guy, liking to play in the yard with his tractors and trailers. He's also a good kid but very vocal and loves to scream. This has only impacted me in the summertime when we all have our doors and windows open, and I've grown accustomed to his play and find it rather comforting; he's a happy child and always notices me and talks to me when he sees me.
The apartment directly below us has had two sets of tenants since we moved in. They have never been a problem. And then... a month ago new tenants moved in, a mother with her two kids, six- and nine-year-old boys. They are not small children; I was amazed when I saw them the first time and wondered how it would be with them below us. It's been an education. The noise is not the problem, but the vibration: when they roughhouse, which seems to be most of the time, the dishes in the cupboards shake. It's impossible to deal with, since we have no idea when the next crash is coming, and it has put me on edge all the time.
When I went downstairs one afternoon last week to ask the kids to take their roughhousing outside, I found it was the mother and her sister dancing an Irish jig in the living room, it wasn't the kids at all. We had a conversation that wasn't exactly friendly, with the two of them saying they had every right to dance in their own living room in the middle of the day, and me saying that I couldn't concentrate, read a book, or block out the feeling that I am living inside a base drum.
So we are moving. This morning we will look at two possible apartments in a different part of town, and we are also considering moving within this same complex, to the upper corner unit on the other end. This section has us completely surrounded with young kids, whereas the other section has no kids around that apartment at all. Of course, there is no guarantees in life, but I'm hoping that it will be better than this situation.
All this has happened right at the time that I've planted my first vegetables ever in the community garden behind the apartment complex. I've already harvested some kale, green beens, zucchini, and am looking forward to having collards, cabbage and delicata squash, if we stay here anyway. The collards will be ready to eat any time now. Because of the garden, I'm hoping we will stay here, but I'm also looking forward to seeing what the rest of our adopted town has to offer. I've learned over the years to let go of expectations.
It makes me very glad that we are living lightly, not having accumulated much in the way of heavy furniture and keeping our possessions to a minimum. It will make the move easier, and I'm thinking I'll hire some young men with strong backs to do the heavy lifting, saving us from more than the usual thrash of packing everything in boxes. But it's an upheaval, and my dreams have been filled with difficult predicaments, reflecting my current dilemma.
This morning, however, as I write this post, I realize I am filled with optimism about the future and wondering what will come next. It took a few days of agonizing over what to do about the situation, but now that I have a plan of action, the future will unfold and take us to the next adventure. To me, a move is a disruption, but it also gives me the opportunity to remind myself that nothing is permanent, and living lightly on this planet is the very best choice I can make for myself.
|My garden in August|