Since I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t talked here about my most recent move: in August, I left Lark Street and moved back to the rural town where my sons go to school. I miss downtown Albany something awful, but as the boys have been getting older (funny how that happens! LOL), it started getting too complicated for them to enjoy being there as much as I did. It’s much easier for them to have both parents (and both of their households) in the same community right now. As I was coming to that realization, an opportunity to rent a gorgeous farm house fell into my lap. It all happened very quickly. It was impossible to say no.
Still, lovely as it is, it’s quite an adjustment for me. We’d lived on a brightly lit city block busy with traffic and pedestrians day and night. Now, it’s so dark and quiet out in here the country, it’s feels like a vacuum in contrast. I don’t quite know what to do with it.
But one of the things I know how to do is dive into a place. In fact, I really don’t know how *not* to dive in and find all the things to love. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (@carolee26), you’ve seen some of the photos of my current obsessions: geese, cornfield, cows, porch, distant mountains. Downtown was sexy and lively; this new place has a different kind of beauty. It’s a beauty I’m still figuring out, but it seems to be the beauty of breath and light, the beauty that snags your attention not to pull you along but to leave you right where you are: standing still and seeing.
One of the difficult things about returning to the town where I lived when I was married and saying it’s best for the boys is the fear that I’d done the wrong thing moving them in the first place. But I don’t think that’s the case. I think I’ve made the right decisions in the right moments. I’ve even written about the country vs. city choice before this: place can meet need and fulfill desire just like any lover. We go where we are called. I needed downtown to get me launched and explore who I wanted to be as a woman and a mother, and right now, that same woman and mother needs the country — this particular swath of it at least.
There’s not only lots here that I need to give my boys, but I’m certain there’s something here for me, as well. The farm house and property feel like a writer’s retreat. They’ve come to me just as I’m preparing for the last semester of my MFA program, which means I’ll need to finish the poetry manuscript I’ve been working on the last couple of years. In addition, while for the longest time I’ve felt the need to remain on-the-go and surrounded by people, I’m now feeling the need to be still and listen.
Of course, it’s a false notion that those needs can only be met here: I wrote a lot in the city, and I found many quiet moments there. The slowing down? That might just be winter, a season that forces a different energy. It’s also a false notion that I can guess at this moment that the country is going to be about writing and stillness for me. Places do shape us but not always how we think.
And so this is where I am: paying attention, taking it all in, noticing the stunning details. Do that in your place, too. Let’s see how much we can learn to love.