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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moving on. . . Moving in!

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies . . . Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die . . . It doesn't matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away.” 

Painting by the pond, photo by Michael Bradtke
Everyone who was touched by my mother carries something of her with them - that is her legacy. I began this blog for her, and I’ll continue to write in her memory. In addition to the gift of life itself, she taught me to read, and shared her love of the arts, languages, and nature. As a strong, creative, intelligent, and resourceful person, she provided a great role model.  She showed us all how to adapt to new surroundings and to make a home wherever it may be.
            Reminiscing with my father in the days after the memorial, the subject often returned to my mother's willingness to face the challenges and upheaval of moving to a new place. For a good twenty years of their married life my father was in the United StatesCoast Guard, and every few years the family was uprooted.  New Jersey, Florida, New York, Guam, Alaska; each new transfer was another adventure for her, a new place to see, new people to meet. So you see, I come by this peripatetic existence honestly.

            Here I sit, my laptop perched on a folding table set up in the kitchen, a little oasis of calm. Meanwhile two industrious carpet layers are busy unrolling and hammering all around me.  The wool felt padding is surprisingly beautiful, in some ways more interesting than the oatmeal hued carpet that will cover it.
Laying down the padding

We are nearly at the three-month mark from our departure from London and still not moved in. But the indoor camping phase will be over in a few days when our stuff is finally delivered. That is, except for what we have in storage on the other side of the country.  Aside from a couple of antiques we inherited from D.'s parents, we can't remember what's there, a fine proof of the saying 'out of sight, out of mind'.
One thing about an international move is you learn what you can live without.  I joked that I had my laptop, my violin, and my bicycle (and of course, my beloved) with me, and the rest was incidental. You also begin to appreciate certain possessions after not having access to them for a while. I’m not sure if I miss the tandem, my books, or our cooking utensils most, but it will be great to have them back. When everything is unpacked, no matter how ruthlessly we weeded out the dross beforehand, there  always seems to be something that provokes the question “why did we keep this?”  I wonder what it will be this time. Throughout all the chaos I am constantly reminded of my mother, and of all the things I learned from her that I use every day, but especially on days like today. When your world is turned upside down, take advantage of the chance to enjoy the view from a different perspective.

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