Friday, May 9, 2014

On leaving home and tumbleweed ....

                         Scrapbook paper from We R Memory Keepers at Target

Ever since i was a little girl, i had a restlessness inside. My favorite part of school was where we learnt about other countries ... the Kimonos worn in Japan, how paella was made in Spain. I wanted to au-pair in Germany after school but my mother thought it would be best to finish my studies first. After a year at university a friend and I planned and dreamt of how we could leave to take a year out for travelling ... live and work on a Kibbutz, go backpacking around Europe.

I tried to move back home after my studies ended but instead of dreaming about getting married and buying a home and a car and starting a real job, all I could think about was leaving. Not to run away, but to see something new. The world was calling and the familiar roads of the towns i grew up in just didn't go far enough any more.

I've lived away from home for almost two decades and moved house more times than i can count. That restlessness is still inside, it's taking a lot of effort to stay in one place now that the children need to be in school and not moving every year. I haven't travelled to even half the places I still want to go and if i could, i would pack up and set off tomorrow around the States in a camper van and see where the road took me. I'd like to sail down the Amazon a little way at least and travel South America ... Morocco and India and Italy are still waiting.

But something happened along the way with all the moving and changing and restlessness. Something I didn't anticipate. With every move came a goodbye of some kind. To a place I had grown comfortable in, to people i had come to love. Friends travelled and then went home to start their lives surrounded by family and familiarity, support. They knew where they belonged. I waved others goodbye to new lives in other places in the world ... Australia, the Middle East, Europe, South America, New Zealand. And went to America to start another chapter. There was a whole continent waiting to be explored.

Now, looking back, it's the goodbyes that i think about the most, not the adventures I have had along the way. It's the people missing from my life. The friends and family I've known since i was little, the connection that happens when you spend your life living in one place. The people who challenged me and made me laugh. Who helped me see the world a little differently, who taught me something new. The ones who danced and painted and lived creatively. The ones who had a clear vision, who made a great cup of tea or knew when to open the bottle of wine, who emanated peacefulness. The ones I belonged the most to, even though i didn't realize it at the time. The ones who are family, the ones who share my passion for a country at the very tip of Africa.

We moved to this house almost a year ago and i felt such a sense of relief at finally having a real place to call home after all the years of moving and not knowing where we wanted to be. Not that we travelled all the time, not at all - there were jobs to hold down and rent to pay and we couldn't pack up and wonder the world, much as I wanted to. But we also weren't settled down. Not in a real grown-up kind of way. It always felt temporary, just a brief spot before we tried the next place to live. I thought this house would change the way I felt, that i'd finally feel like i'd come home, that the restlessness would leave and I would finally breathe out. 

Only, moving has meant even more goodbyes after a lifetime of saying them. Days of not seeing friends, have turned to weeks then turned to months. The phone has grown very quiet. The texts never come. No last minute playdates or ice-creams at the park. No dinner invitations or bottles of wine shared on a Friday night. The phone rings for someone else, we've shifted our place in the line. Right to the bottom. Living far away as we do from our families and the friends we have known since we were small, our friends here have become our family. Only now they have drifted because we're not longer close by and party of the everyday, and our places have been filled. It happens slowly, a playdate at a time. And suddenly almost a year has passed and they have stopped calling. It means I have to start over, again, here where we live, and I feel so tired and resistant to the idea. I feel like hibernating and hiding from the world.  I don't have the energy to get to know even one more person.

Instead of feeling like a tree, finally rooted and sinking down into the damp earth of our new home, I am a tumbleweed - empty and full of spaces, rolling out across the dust. Hollow inside. Still restless and ever moving. Instead of close friends at my table on a rainy afternoon when the sky has grown purple and the light is green, I feel their absence and lives lived in different directions as I sit across the world from so many that I love, and the rest of them are scattered across the world.

When i close my eyes I dream of a gravel courtyard, paper lanterns strung up across a broad old tree. A turquoise deep sky and a lemon slice of moon. Candles and fresh bread, bottles of wine. Wooden chairs all painted different colours. There is lavendar growing in my dream garden, heaps and bunches of it scent the almost-night air. The seats are filling with the people i love best in this world and in my dream, everyone belongs and everyone fits and no introductions or awkward ice-breakers are needed. We pass the food around the table, dishes are heavy and plates are piled high. The faces smile up at me in the candlelight and my heart swells with happiness. They are all here. You are all here. Here in one place. Everyone i love best in the world. 

Until then, i'll be blowing around the edges of my little world here, wondering if a gust of wind will be strong enough to come and blow me down the road. Maybe there's another horizon out there waiting for me.


    image via pinterest

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