My parents sold the house they had built in the seventies a few years ago. It was my childhood home and the memories stored up in the wooden floors, my bedroom walls, the rocks around the property were many. It was a move that allowed them to relocate to where their grandchildren lived and a move that brought them away from their community of 30+ years. The bravery of it all amazes me.
Routinely I walk my Maine home in my mind. The way that it felt to step up on the granite stoop and turn the metal knob of the front door, the creak of the pine floorboards (creeping in as a teenager was impossible), the way the sunlight came in the kitchen windows. How it felt to move up the stairs and into my bedroom, how it was to be in that space looking out at the canopy of trees surrounding the house. The endless Maine trees. I try to remember intimately in detail how it felt to be in that space, that space where I grew and played and learned and became.
I find myself doing that with Jackson now. Memorizing the twists and turns and rocky outcroppings of Putt Putt trail, how Snow King looked from our bedroom window in all seasons, the routes I would take by car and bike and foot to get to the familiar places around town. Remembering the taste of a cinnamon brioche from Persephone Bakery (oh how I miss that place). How it felt to walk into Browse n'Buy and find a new treasure. The library. The elk refuge. Our house. My friends and acquaintances. Walking the dike searching for bald eagles and white pelicans. Reliving the pictures of my community in my mind in an attempt to feel connected.
I recognize the comfort in doing this. And, being an artist, how visuals are part of my day to day experience. And I recognize how this recalling is keeping me with one mental foot in Jackson and one physical foot here in Boulder. A straddle that is not particularly comfortable. I am scared of missing out on my friends lives, of not being involved in the day-to-day happenings of Jackson life, of having made a mistake to give up our life there. Here I feel awkward a great deal of the time. The awareness of not fully belonging yet. I notice how I often want to squirm away from that awkwardness. My kids keep me real. And my art. And my dance class that has become a beacon in my week.
What I want to do is dive in deep here, into this place. To commit to being invested, curious, open to the unknown. To remain playful and creative. To ground down into the earth. But I can't do that fully yet. I find ways to be in the present moment-writing, meditating, remembering to breath, yoga, dance, painting- but my heart is still grieving and I have to be gentle with this process.
So for now, I will continue to daydream my way through my former lives and places that have shaped who I am. I will also continue to remind myself of all the goodness that there is in this place and of the bravery of spreading our family wings and flying to a new nest.