I have felt the ache of leaving Colorado, the highest town there, Leadville, the complete, naked adventure of Saint Georges, and raising Hannah and Lara in its bosom.
I don’t know how it is that I am moving to Oregon as if I am coming home.
The ocean is never far from me, as I settle into this new place, with phone lines and internet needing to be put in, and a new rhythm possible and necessary in my marriage and my psyche. Tired, sticky habits are being shaken and must be.
I noticed, when we arrived, that there are hummingbirds even in December. Locals explain that there is a breed of hummingbird that lingers through the winter, and they are here even in late December. I watched them circle around empty feeders out front during our first week here, then I no longer saw them.
The feeders have grown black with mold.
Last night, I bought sugar, and George and I brought the feeders in to be scrubbed and filled.
I was inarticulating another felt layer of what we were doing last night. The question of whether the hummingbirds would find the feeders again so late in the season, or not, a commitment to offer nourishment, just in case they return, the uncertainty of waiting and the faith of placing.
It’s still dark out, and I can only see the silvery outline of the feeders this morning. I wonder if anyone has ever written an invocation to call hummingbirds back.
“Come back to the nectar, you tiny, needled suckers, you buzzing winged, ruby-throated beings!”
There’s a certain kind of art in the way I was born by the Atlantic ocean in New Jersey, with the sunrise, which I would watch with my mom. I recall reluctantly being pulled out of bed at 5 AM to see it on those early summer mornings. These may have been my favorite memories of her, along with the times my sisters and cousins made her hidden spirit laugh until she cried.
“ Auntie Margaret, I’ve got a joke that will knock your boobs off!… Oh, I see you’ve already heard it!“
When our daughters were toddlers, George and I moved our family to the highest place in the center of the continent to raise Hannah and Lara there in the mountains. It was dry, and crisp and bright, and snow was the playground.
My heart breaks as I tell myself the story of that pinnacle. Then our nest emptied, and the stories of family began to crumble from their seeming perfection and wholeness as did my health.
We entered that startling, disrupting, undoing time. I am coming to believe that’s the deep cut of the Big Love that I call “God”.
I build a fortress against it still, yet it loves me and it loves me and it loves me.
I feel drawn now to the West Coast, the place where the sun sets.
George and I both felt the unmistakable, “Hell yes“ when we arrived in Garibaldi for our interviews in September. We left our suitcases by the rental car and walked out onto the pier where people were crabbing, the seagulls hovering above us, and the fog was rolling in.
There is a strange sense that this is home, though I don’t know what that means exactly.
If I look at the story in a linear way, then this is the end of it, the place where the sun sets.
But there’s another layer I’m considering, where I am coming home to another ocean, something that has always held me. Maybe not so much an ending, but a landing.
Two beautiful churches, clusters of people with their histories and forms and trajectories have trusted us to join them.
To join seamlessly?
I know better than that.
I would like to imagine a disruption of love, which is the only true kind of love, that opens and opens.
I’ve lost myself in trying to move in, trying to create stability, or to fool myself with a sense of it. What I need more than stability might be pause, but I don’t.
The ocean seems to call me to it’s wild, dangerous, faithful wholeness, and I get glimpses of it as I weave around curves on Highway 101, to and from porch visits with folks from St Catherine’s and St. Albans and the fitting in of relentless errands.
Alerts on my phone tell me of high surf advisories and flood warnings, and people warn us about “sneaker waves”.
I have made an appointment for “el mar de mi corazón” ... soon.
I need a vehicle and Internet, cupboards full of groceries, a reliable address, knowledge of my way around, and a phone that works before I am ready to tackle that relentless wild friend.
The smell of the salt air and the cry of seagulls remind me of something comforting, like a warm shawl over my shoulders ....