Friday, October 10, 2014

October Musings On Life, Change, And Shop Vacs

Listen! the wind is rising,
and the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings,
now for October eves.
~Humbert Wolfe, P.L.M.: Peoples, Landfalls, Mountains, 1936
 Last Saturday was my first October eve of the new season where I sat outside wrapped in a fleece jacket watching the flames of a small bonfire spark into the night sky. The moment was shared with friends, some old, some new, in celebration of a dear friend’s housewarming. The warmth I felt went deeper than the heat from the fire and the pleasure of being in the company of others. For a gal who lives alone with six dogs, being surrounded by humans is a treat all to itself, but tonight the crisp air filled me with so much more.
Writing this today I searched for the right word . . . and found it. Anticipation. Fall brings with it the promise of what lies ahead for the remainder of the year. It renews my spirit. It brings thoughts of family to me, where I am by myself most of the time, with the exception of a pack of hounds. I am lucky to have wonderful friends – but my house lacks the closeness of family. Who knew at age sixty-six I would miss the fact there are no children, no grandchildren, although I surely knew I would miss my husband when he died six years ago. The children thing took me by complete surprise.
Those who know me know I am really not a ‘kid’ person. I’ve never been around babies. I love children’s books, antique toys, but I’ve never been in the company of little people for more than a quick visit. My mother had to correct me many years ago when I was trying to get the attention of a small child.
 “You are calling to that little girl like she is a puppy.” My mother shook her head and laughed at me.
The good news, it worked. The little girl came over to me. I tried not to pat her on the head.
 It is not that I don’t like children. Please don’t think of me as Scrooge! It is just that my life-style took me in other directions, and my old friends were of no darn help either.
They didn’t have babies. My best friends had older children, teens and above. I have a wonderful nephew, but I missed his toddler years. Now that he and his wife have two wonderful babies, I would practice on them, but they are hours away.
 My ‘new’ friends as I like to call the people who are in my life in recent years, all have grown children and grandkids. Married, widowed, single, most have the comfort of family nearby to hold close. They talk about their grandchildren and I talk about my dogs. Would I change how I lived my life to have children now? I know the answer is no. I loved my life then and I love it now. I just have more questions than answers, and I am searching for what’s next.
This year has been an odd one for me. I talk about it, write about it, and try to analyze what is different than the previous years. It is the topic of conversation over dinner and margaritas. My friends are patient, thank goodness for that. I bore myself with my questions at times.
What happened this year that has brought on the winter of discontent? I had surgery in February. Is that the root of my mood swings? My joints hate me and I am not moving with the freedom I did at the first of this year. I’ve never given in to feeling badly. Why now?
Spring and summer found me pulling away from things I loved to do. “It is time to figure out what stays and what goes in my life.” That was my mantra this year. Devote more time to writing. Close out my antique business. And then the most challenging question of all. Should I sell my house and move closer to my family? I’ve lived in the metro Atlanta area since the late seventies. How shocking would it be to leave? How exciting would it be to reinvent myself in a small town close to the St. Johns River where I could see my mother, where my sister and her husband could visit, where my nephew and his family could stop by on their way to Jacksonville.
I thought the universe had sent a sign it was time to move. There was water on my basement floor last month, after a heavy rain, after a year of my new French drain keeping the water out. But there it was, a small puddle on grey cement, right under my antique wicker sofa. The universe said, clearly and damply, move. It was even more clear to me when the floor was dry after the next rain, and the next. 
"The universe peed on my basement floor, " I said in language my dogs could understand. "It's time for us to move." I kept that knowledge of the peeing universe to myself and only now am sharing it with you.
I put my house up for sale the next week. Confident it would be whisked away by an investor. And within two days, an offer I couldn't refuse came in from an investor, who then went on to another house with another offer. My clear vision of moving to a pink Victorian cottage in Florida shifted to my making peace with my house in Decatur. Now I wonder what the universe really wanted to say to me and did I misread my sign?
 Friends tell me to relax. Time will sort it out. For a person who doesn’t give time a chance to do anything, I am the one in charge, this is a shock to my system. Perhaps that is the biggest lesson of all for me. I can’t control the real estate market and if moving is truly in my future, I'd better hunker down and deal with it.
I woke up this morning, the window in my bedroom open, allowing cool air to surround me, the dogs cuddled up next to me, sharing their warmth, as I had my quilt pulled up close around my neck, partially to keep warm, and partially to keep a dog’s tongue out of my face, and felt energized.
It’s October. It’s fall. Anything is possible. Maybe I needed some down time to sort things out. I always jump into things without much thought, allowing the universe to guide me. The universe has been hiding from me too, or maybe the message was relax, it’s not time yet, and I missed that clue, because I am not a patient person. Maybe water on a basement floor is just that, a small leak with no real life changing message. Although I seriously doubt that.  When I find out what it was, you'll be the second to know.
 Everything is the same. Everything is different. Sometimes I am a free spirit, sometimes I am plagued with doubts. This year has given me more questions than answers. I am lucky I can take time to pull back and think. It is good if it doesn’t last too long. It is a luxury of living alone, I can dwell on my thoughts without interruption, it is also a curse, not having to answer to anyone.
The universe that speaks to me, for those who question my sanity, can be described also as faith, the man above, a gut feeling. I roll it into two words, the universe, but faith is my driving force.
Fall reminds me that the seasons change and that no matter what I am worrying about, life is full of color and beauty. I am blessed in so many ways.  I never forget that. But sometimes you have to stop and take a step back, in order to move forward. This year has been my step back. I can't wait to spring forward.
Maybe the universe will speak to me again on my basement floor. Just in case this conversation is not over,  I went to Home Depot and bought a small 2.5 gallon wet dry vac.  Be prepared for emergencies. At least that is one lesson I've learned from the incident of the water on my basement floor!