It’s snowing outside as I write this morning and I keep finding myself distracted by the falling whiteness, mesmerized by the veil of whirling flakes between me and the forest that lays beyond my window. There are few things I love more than a cozy, snowy morning…steaming coffee in hand, bright flickering candles to warm the dim grey light offered by overcast skies. I feel my heartbeat slow as I look out the window, as I watch the layer of frosty snow build up on each tiny bare branch, each quivering pine needle, a calmness comes over me.
Three weeks from today we will have packed our meager belongings back into our truck and camper, filled our beast truck with gas, and embarked on the first miles of our journey out of Maine and onto…well, I’m not precisely sure where yet. Likely central Texas to begin with, but the Lone Star state is nothing if not widely spread and it will be weeks yet before we know with any certainty which of the many hospitals will have an available travel assignment.
Yesterday was the winter solstice and the traditional day to celebrate Yule. It’s a time of lightness and dreaming, of listening and allowing the whispers of our wishes for the year to come to be heard without attaching a to-do list to them yet. It’s a time of infinite possibility. I usually adore this time of year and look with eagerness on the tying up of the past year, the finishing of projects, the planning for the year to come.
But this year, I admit that I’m overwhelmed. Not horribly so- don’t be worried, friends. But overwhelmed nonetheless.
There are the many projects and loose ends from another lovely wedding season over at Cuppa. There are a seemingly endless number of “oh! I forgot about…” moments, mostly of the phenomenally unglamorous sort that relate to leaving…notifying the state revenue service that I won’t be paying sales tax here after January, moving my business’s insurance, realizing that I need to change my driver’s license…see? Phenomenally unglamorous.
There are the many items that are still very important to me that must be organized before being stored at Justin’s parents’ home while we are on the move…I am the keeper of my family’s history, the detritus of past and current generations, from my grandparents’ photographs to the old VHS tapes of my childhood home movies. Hardcore minimalists would say that these relics of past lives should be digitized, put online, and discarded, but I am not even remotely close to being okay with discarding the originals. Maybe it’s the historian in me, but I have a deep and unmovable love of original documents and I would discard the photograph of my grandmother at 20 years old onto which she penned the words “Hey there Sweetheart” before mailing it off to my grandfather at his outpost in the WWII Pacific just as soon as I’d chop off and discard my own thumbs. You know, like never. And so I’m faced with a pile of bins of photos and letters to be scanned and uploaded for safekeeping before entrusting them to the spare storage space of Justin’s childhood home. We aren’t storing much, but some things simply can’t be let go. Not by me.
And then, of course, there are goodbyes. To friends. To places. To this era of our lives. I know it’s sentimental, but I believe in turning points, in defining moments in life. And this drive away from Maine is one of them. When we sold our home this summer, I wrote about feeling that a home is a sort of parenthesis around an era in our lives, and I amend that now to include a place in general. I anticipate that one day we will return to New England and make our home once again in its snowy climes. But this time in this place is quickly drawing to a close and we will return as different people, marked by the experiences that we are so eagerly seeking as we embrace this uncertain future.
So I find myself overwhelmed. By a to-do list that I can’t fathom how to complete. By emotions that swing wildly from anticipation to grief to anxiety to exhilaration and everything in between. By remembering that the holiday season is tucked right in here with all of its fun and celebration and, admittedly, obligations as well. This overwhelm makes the lighthearted wishing and dreaming of Yule decidedly more difficult for me…what do I wish for when I can’t imagine what my life will look like in a month or three months or six? What do I plan for? What dreams can I have that won’t blind me to the opportunities that are impossible to know will arise?
And so I’m left with this Yuletide dream for myself: that I find within myself the courage and integrity and faith in possibility and hard work to suck the marrow from the experiences of the coming year, whatever form they may take.
And one more, I think, as I look once again at the falling snow outside: that I find the space over and over to pause and truly be here, to be actually and truly present…not to miss THIS, whatever this may be right now.
May your holidays be merry and filled with love and kindness and reverberating hope for a future that resounds with possibility and light, my friends.