On moving…up, over and on
I remember when I was taking my last walk around our beautiful 10 acre property in Kansas, before we moved to Arizona.
It was December 1999. I heard a cardinal call in the distance, and...in my not surprising, but-oh-so-dramatic way...I thought to myself, "Well, that's it then. The last bird song I'll hear. They don't have this in the desert."
And, sure enough, I haven't ever seen a cardinal in my back yard in the 12 years we have lived in Phoenix, Arizona. I have watched Road Runners skitter across my path; greeted the arrival of the quail parade each year; listened to owls hoot me to sleep and awakened with the mourning doves. I have never heard a cardinal here.
Each place in our lives, whether literally or figuratively, has its own song.
And now, I'm returning to a strain that is familiar, yet different.
Here's what has happened in the past three short weeks.
We have gone from thinking I could make a separation from my spouse; a career vault that suddenly had no pommel horse (see What's Up With Me Really to understand); owning two houses and all other issues associated with three years of incredibly crumby luck work out, to thinking there could be another answer as simple as clicking my heels together three times.
That's right. We're going back to Kansas.
Greg is there already, as you may have read in the post A Man's Gotta Do.... So here's what happened on the road to everything I least expected.
First, know that I didn't want to go back to Hutchinson, Kansas. I felt that when I left there 12 years ago, I was leaving behind situations that wanted to rob me of all the breath I had left. Too much drama, too many constraints borne of mindsets I thought weren't set in the same foundations as mine. Too many limitations. Too many people who couldn't understand what I am about inside...
Well, as it turns out, only God understands what I am inside. Greg Meredith runs a close second. (And, no darlin', I didn't just say you are a god.) And guess what, it turns out drama happens everywhere! You just have to decide what you want your role to be in the drama...Witch/Wizard; the Great Counselor; the uninvolved peasant bystander; the queen of all things...truly, you can choose.
So, in dramas, I hope I've learned that I live in the cottage up a path. If the drama needs a room for the night, l'll listen and let it rest, but in the morning, it needs to move on. Limitations, they happen. But honestly, most limitations begin and end right between our ears. And I think we all know how to deal with that. It's just so much simpler when there's someone else to blame.
But back to me and my ruby slippers.
In February, I was busy pushing my noodle uphill. I was going to make consulting work. I was going to network with all the right people to put my master plan of being the world's next best business consultant into action.
In March, Mary Charlotte and I planned a great circular drive for her spring break. We would see Greg in Hutchinson, swing up to Montana to say goodbye to my hometown and pick a few things up before my Dad's house sold in Miles City, and then, leisurely make our way back to Arizona. (If swinging by Montana en route from Kansas to Arizona doesn't make sense to you, then never, ever trust me with navigation on your road trips.) We would do this in a week because that would allow us time to enjoy about 30 hours of time together in Arizona before I had to take off on my next great automotive sales training adventure.
The night before MC and I left, Greg was at "Problem Solving Club" in Hutchinson, where he ran into a great old friend. Old Friend asked about moi. Husband explained that my plans were "fluid" and based on finding a job in Phoenix. OF said, "I think I may have a job for her, if she's interested."
Three days later, I was in the office of Tom (aka OF) and feeling like I was home. Strangest thing. I never meant to be there. I didn't think it was my "calling," yet everything said, "You have arrived."
Meanwhile, Mary Charlotte was at the high school thinking, "This could work." and "Nice!" because she is, after all, the most positive and irrepressible 16-year-old in the universe.
So...within about a day, we decided that a) we missed Greg, and our plans for me to generate the income to pay for frequent plane trips between Kansas and Arizona hadn't exactly solidified, and b) Hutchinson, Kansas is a very good place.
There are people there who remember us and love us, even after a decade of separation. The girl who gave Mary Charlotte a tour of the high school was one she played with every week in the church nursery. But, understandably, when one leaves a place as a four-year-old, those are very blurry mental images, and she didn't remember her as a long-lost nursery buddy.
We chose to take the plunge and start a new chapter in Hutchinson. We came back from our spring break road trip. We exhausted ourselves cleaning and, in Mary Charlotte's case, crying with friends as she shared the news of our new plans. By Monday, we had the house on the market.
By Wednesday, we had a full-price contract on the house and I had a job offer from the company of my OF. Even when I was 1,300 miles away from home (because I'm still traveling around the southeastern U.S. during the week and home on weekends) I began to feel the sense that this was meant to be. We are going home.
Those are bold words from a woman who claims her home will always be in Montana (there's a song that goes with that...but that's for another time) and who is rather...well...snobbish about it. But they're true.
Home. Just as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros means it. Home to my husband. Home to the space where my family began. Home to loving, funny, wonderful people with so many different interests and opinions I can only hope I live to learn them all.
Home to winter wheat that spreads a great green blanket under skies full of spring snows. Home to corner cafes that share the only corner in town with a grain elevator. Home to Canada Geese and those funny black birds that fly in great flocks as if they move with one brain--up and down on the whim of one or all (feel free, my Audubon friends, to remind me what they're called). Home to livestock, farm houses, multimillion dollar mansions, the Bible belt, the Right, the Left, the Moderate...
So, maybe Hutchinson, Kansas, could be anywhere. Because, really...much of what I've come to appreciate about Hutchinson can be found in the hearts of the people I love in Phoenix, Arizona. In Arizona's desert sunrises and sunsets. It's geology, and landscape that changes every 30 miles. It all wrestles with a tug that says, "you haven't found me yet."
But, I think I understand now what I didn't understand 12 years ago. Maybe I didn't even understand this one year ago. Hutchinson is calling me home because priceless people, ways and wisdom are there. But it is calling me home because my husband is there. It is where our family will be whole.
And that, my friends, is where goodness grows.
Listen to this again...
"You've always had the power dear. You've had it all along." --Glenda, the Good WItch