Little by little, I am erasing myself from this apartment in which I’ve lived for a little less than 11 months. All the choices I made when I moved in — or rather almost a month later when my stuff finally got here — one by one, I am deleting them. I sent this picture of what my living room currently looks like to a friend. What she noticed, beyond the boxes and the chaos, were the things that are still on the walls. “Each one of them is a decision you made,” she said. I appreciated her awareness and acknowledgment. The things on the walls are, for me, what really makes it home. I am delaying taking them down for as long as possible. They help to ground me.
Leaving here is certainly my choice and it’s not anywhere near the wrench that last year’s departure from my Seattle condo was. Even so, as the packing proceeds, I am increasingly aware that it is still a wrench. It’s amazing how used to a place one becomes in less than a year. I made it into my home and leaving home is always challenging, always a journey into the unknown.
And it is unsettling to pack one’s life into boxes that strong strangers with a truck will soon take away. There are always nagging questions: Am I doing this right? Is there enough padding? Are the boxes too heavy? My packing approach is certainly eclectic: clothes get bundled in with pots and pans, buckets and trashcans provide extra protection for antiques.
As each thing disappears into a box, I wish it a good journey and tell it I trust that we will be together again in a few weeks. Maybe not that consciously (I’m way too tired to be that conscious), but I don’t think such thoughts need to be conscious in order to be felt, certainly not by inanimate objects.
A fierce thunderstorm is raging as I write this, so much rain buffeting the windows that it slides down in sheets. Trees are waving their branches frantically. Lightning flashes overhead. Oddly, however, there is no thunder. I’ve observed that here in Minnesota before, these silent and lengthy light shows. I guess I’m grateful that there aren’t repeated booms to equal the intensity of the flashes but it’s also a little unnerving. I am certainly grateful to be safe and dry inside. Meanwhile, E Street Radio is playing a concert from October 2009. Bruce and Little Steven are singing Long Walk Home. Feels fitting and companionable, and a reminder that the longing for home is universal and often has little to do with the four walls that surround us.
The storm has moved on and Bruce just started singing Waitin’ on a Sunny Day, which always brings a smile (some of you will recognize his guest soloist at 4 minutes in). I can’t envision what life in my new home is going to be like, but I did manage to get a ticket to see him in Albany when he tours next year. A visit to Bruce World is another kind of homecoming, and knowing that I’ll be going there in a few months helps me keep moving forward.
The pictures will come off the walls this coming week. That’s when I’ll know it’s really almost time to go. Once again, as I was last year when I journeyed here, I’m grateful for your company.