Its’ past mid-November, the rest of the leaves swirl on the ground, piled deep on roads, sidewalks, woods, yards. While Jim, friend Ellen and I hiked a trail in the Uwharrie range, the leaves blanketed the trails and we lost our way…a lot.
On our road trip, Jim has been the navigator, and I the driver, since Jim’s epilepsy suggests its the safest match of our roles. Usually, my navigation powers and sense of direction are excellent, but ever since Jim purchased an iPhone–as he states it, it’s his “new tool, not toy”–he has been the one looking for the best routes, and feeding me directions as we go from destination to destination, and I’ve found myself lost and turned around more than a few times. Sometimes the directives from my navigator is right at the particular turn or exit, so he’ll all a sudden command, “Turn left now!” and I have no time to see the landmarks or read road signs.
As we keep circling through the Piedmont region of North Carolina on our way to and from South Carolina or the Atlantic ocean or Virginia, I am getting to know the lay of the land. My internal compass is working better now that I can relate to signs, routes and churches. Yes, churches. There are many many churches in the South, sometimes the same denomination within a few feet of each other in a small town. Streets are named after them: Matton Grove Church Road, Old Stone Church Road, St Stephen’s Church Road, Burton Church Road and so on…. So I orient to churches, old barns, farmhouses and undulating valleys and now de-leafed forests. I love knowing my way around…no offense to my navigator.
On this phase of the journey, there is another sense of disorientation that has snuck in with swirling leaves, sending me into a tizzy of confused emotions: We have not found our home-base. Almost 6 months ago we left…hmmm, do I call our old house “home”? What does that term mean anyway? Often, after a day out and about, we return to a place we are staying, such as Sacred Grove Retreat, after stating: “Lets go home”. And then I burst into tears.
On the road, we’ve made new lifetime friends—we call them soul family. We’ve participated in ceremonies, classes, healings, movie premiers (Charlie’s Scars and Thrive), 11-11-11 activities, Native American Day at a local Veteran’s administration hospital, new moons, full moons, drum circles, dancing, laughing, and lots and lots of potluck dinners. But nowhere has there been a place to call home, even though we both have enjoyed certain places enough to want to return.
Jim had a close call to “home”: Charlottesville, Virginia, home of Thomas Jefferson, his dream project Monticello, and the University of Virginia, it is a great college town, with lots happening and good coffee shops. While touring around with new friends, he exclaimed for the first time on our trip: “I love it here!” Which startled me.
So we stayed, we explored, we hiked the trail up to Monticello, we drank coffee and ate east coast bagels and talked to the locals and made yet MORE new friends, and came up full on the new-contacts front, but empty on the home front. Even searching Craigslist for a temporary winter home while we explore the region had us looking at stark basement apartments which we remember living in our college days, but now…well, lets say we are little older and a bit more fussier as to what we’d consider home.
The last few weeks has me exhausted–a deep exhaustion stemming from the packing, unpacking, not knowing where we are going, driving in literal circles at times….I need a place to unpack and re-group. And I need to be with our family: our boys, my mom, Jim’s family and our dear West coast friends. So, upon browsing through Craigslist Seattle and environs, I found a small house on South Whidbey Island, WA: furnished, near water, and with a separate artist’s studio for my aura portrait and counseling work. We are moving in Mid-Decmber through March.
I am feeling slightly energized by the thought of returning to my beloved Pacific Northwest. Yet I’m also torn between new friends and family and the yearning for my old familiar haunts and pals. Cold rainy weather aside, there is nowhere else in the world I’d rather be than the Pacific Northwest. Jim desires more warmth…or at least a little more sunshine, so we’ll see. We are in partnership, after all, so a place to call home may not be easy to find, but I have faith it’s in the offing.
For now, we’ll have Thanksgiving here in North Carolina, and then head back West the week after, with an early December arrival on Whidbey.
If you have places for us to visit as we head west: invite us! And say a prayer of safe return.
I’ll keep you West Coasters posted, so if you need an appointment, a hug or what have you, you’ll know where to find me for a time. And East Coasters: I’ll return, I promise…you can’t get rid of me that easily.
I love y’all, from East to West and all in-between. And I am at home with that.
Happy Trails to you, until we meet again,