We start each new phase of our lives on the heels of a jingle. “Something old, something new. . . something borrowed, something blue” follows the bride down the aisle and out the church door. As I stand in the wide empty rooms of my house, the house which will soon not be mine, I wonder what old adage my friends will chant in my wake.
Empty shelves which once held my mother’s soup cups stare down from the walls. I smile when I see that the cupboards are far from bare despite my best efforts, but soon they will shed their burdens into boxes bound for donation, with one small bundle added to the dozen which have already been segregated for the westward journey. I sit on a wooden stool which someone blended with my belongings and abandoned, in front of an old white table that hasn’t made anybody’s cut. A funny assortment of possessions has fallen away to reveal calcified bones scarcely strong enough to withstand a modest breeze. Yet somehow the whole of it, this which is left and the stacks that have been hauled away, made a life good enough to produce a box full of photos and a heart full of sentiment.
As I prepare for my next adventure, I realize that come what might, I’ve opened a door and dragged a few precious items through it. I’ll have my son’s childhood in a camp box repurposed as a storage bin; I’ll have my mother in wooden spindles on which I’ll hang my tea towels. My favorite curmudgeon and his beautiful Joanna will stand next to my butcher block counter, represented by the incongruously situated antique secretary, the one even I think I’m crazy to tote in my tiny house.
The answer to, how much can you fit in 313 square feet? is ‘just the right amount’. I don’t even miss the two SUVs-full of crockery and books that Ms. Miranda packed and drove out of my life. I spend most evenings in the same little circle: Kitchen, rocking chair, upstairs in my cabin-in-the-sky. Of all of this, I’ll miss my front porch the most, and if I’m clever, I’ll have another by spring, on a lot that I don’t have to pay anyone to mow, near a river with its weeping willow, a river which flows to the mother sea.
I’ve wondered where this journey to joy would take me. I think I have my answer. The process of getting ready has allowed me to strip the burden from my shoulders and spread my arms wide, unburdened, light, like the back of my neck the first time I snuck out of the house and cut my long heavy braids. My father wailed, “A woman’s hair is her crowning beauty!” I pretended to be remorseful. But I felt glorious, and that exhilaration again courses through me. The weight of everything with which I’ve blocked my awakening has been lifted. I stretch. I rise. My heart rejoices.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the forty-sixth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.