Donald Trump may have abandoned the world of blogging but despite my recent absence, I have not.
My attention has been shifted momentarily out of necessity because of my soon-to-be move to a new home but my heart remains here, with you all.
Packing up the tangible evidence of my life has truly consumed me. As an avid collector who veers close to being a packrat, it has become a full-time job packing up my life belongings. And those of generations of my family.
The cultural clutter of the 20th century that has filled my pages and my art is now all boxed up, labeled, and categorized ready to go. The extent of my catalog of the past 90 years has been astounding, surprising even me.
A person who has devoted their interests to American consumerism, it now consumed me; literally.
Pack Up Your Troubles
In the process of packing away a lifetime of belongings, I may have temporarily packed up my voice with it too.
Stored deep among the cacophony of cardboard boxes that now fill every nook and cranny of my large home is a boatload of feelings, thoughts, and observations to rival the massive amounts of “stuff” I have collected, accumulated, and inherited over my lifetime. They remain contained, as carefully wrapped in bubble wrap as Wedgewood fine bone china, until that time they are safely ready to be unpacked.
But some still burst out from time to time taking me on a roller coaster of feelings to rival the infamous Cyclone at Coney Island. My year of closing down my parents’ house, a few years ago has served well as training, a true boot camp for this experience. But now I am in the front lines and it is painfully lonely.
The Sounds of Silence
The sounds of exiting a long-lived in home are distinctive.
There is now that strange echo that permeates my house. The once dense art filled walls are bare but for the scuff marks and holes where once art and generations of framed family photos long-lived. There is nothing to buffer the feelings which are raw.
The sound is particular and one I had not heard in this space for close to 20 years when I first looked at these bare walls and envisioned a life here. All my family photos are gone from the entire wall they once graced, packed, and waiting for me. My family watched over me here and they now reside in boxes at this new home ready to welcome and transition me when I finally make the final full move.
The walls are bare even as my heart and my emotions are on overload.
The physical presence of my home has transitioned too, from a gracious home to one resembling a booby trap of mazes of boxes of all shapes and sizes.
My dog Stanley at first unfazed by this obstacle course that has become my house, he has adapted. But he knows something is up. His familiar patterns are disrupted.
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
For now, I have had to fall out of love with my beloved house.
It is the only way to depart emotionally intact. Having your home foreclosed is like leaving a lover who has broken up with you when you had no choice in the matter and were still painfully in love.
Especially when you are still desperately in love. For now, in order to let go, I focus on their negative traits.
Neglected by design, my well-tended garden is now in shambles, rivaling Gray Gardens. Once a glorious place to give full expression to my artist’s eye fueled by my OCD so that nary a weed dare grow between the hundreds of bricks of my patio now runs wild with weeds, plants, and debris, making an inviting all you can eat buffet for the birds and rabbits to feast on. Dishelved and shabby it has fallen on hard times, like all the residents of the house.
Leaving in the height of spring is a double-edged sword. Mother Nature continues with her timeline and the flowers, shrubs, and trees despite my neglect are victorious and bloom in all their glory.
Grateful that I live to see one more season of lilacs, it is bittersweet knowing I must leave them.
The rich heady scent of lilacs is wafting in through my open kitchen windows, filling the house with their indescribable perfume. I breathe deeply, appreciating the moment knowing it’s the last time I will have that same experience. The sense memory takes me back to 2002 when these multiple lilacs were planted at each entrance and window so I would fill my home if only for a few weeks with that magical smell. I’m a few weeks, I will have to leave here and leave my beloved lilacs I so tenderly cared for.
Surrounded by the roses blooming and the rhododendrons in full glorious bloom I am nostalgic. And sad. But grateful to have one more season of my flowers.
And there is always Trader Joe’s to fill my home with lilacs next spring
My multiple magenta rhododendron bushes are in their full blooming glory soaring to the second story of my house. And each season soar beyond my expectations
For nearly 2 decades they’ve been left alone, save for nourishing food, allowed to grow to full glorious expression and they burst with exuberance unhampered. So prolific and free they take my breath away and more importantly inspire.
Likely the new tenants of this house will come in with a hacksaw and lop off their majesty that currently covers the downstairs windows that are filled with close-up images of these flowers.
But for me allowing them to rise unencumbered, to rise to their potential gives me immeasurable joy. I will hold this image in my mind moving forward.
I do what I can to persevere.
To create a gentle transition, a few days ago I chose to establish roots. Fortunate to have had rented this new place several months in advance I have slowly been bringing things over to make it more familiar, like my home.
I hung my parent’s mezuzah on the doorpost to the entrance to my soon to be new office/ studio in the house, the same mezuzah that hung in their home for over 60 years which they put up when they moved to their dream suburban LI home with a 5-month-old baby girl, me. The mezuzah like my parents stayed there the rest of their lives until I had the sad task of closing down that home 2 years ago, taking the mezuzah with me. It now has a new home. For the first of my mezuzahs, this room of my own seemed deserving of its historical significance.
For the occasion, I wore an old T-shirt of my mother’s emblazoned with the Yiddish word “balebooste” ( perfect homemaker) which she was, and it is her energy and supreme organizational skills that have served me well these past months of packing.
Along with the mezuzah I brought over a pot of fertile soil from my current garden to mix with the dirt in the bed in front of that door, edging it with a few transplanted plants that edged my current patio.
Both experiences grounded me in my transition.
Reaching out here, I realized is just as vital. Thank you for being part of the familiar.