Monday, February 27, 2012
We dreaded the move for months before it happened. It was a downgrade, for one thing; we were going from a four-bathroom, five-bedroom house to a three-bathroom, four-bedroom one. Beautiful Cousin and Pie would be obliged to share quarters and Powell, home while he awaits deployment in the Marines, would have to shuttle back and forth between mine and Thomas's chambers. It would be cramped.
Beyond that, we'd become settled in our Mountain Town home. After living as veritable nomads for most of my adolescence, Our Family had remained in one residence for a full six years. It was an unusual and somewhat welcome feeling.
On reflection, though, it was also a bit unnerving. Several bloggers have left comments telling me how sorry they are that I've had to constantly move, but moving is all I've ever known and it's what feels normal. From the time I was thirteen I've been mystified by, if on occasion envious of, those young people who spent their whole lives in one house, attending school with the same cohort of friends from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Is that typical? What could that be like?
Perhaps our background explains why, despite all our remonstrances and worries, once we'd actually moved we were just happy to have done it.
"Did you notice that it feels more normal to be throwing our stuff into boxes than it feels to just like, live somewhere?" I asked Thomas as we carted our possessions into the new house.
"Yeah," my brother laughed. "Is that weird?"
Before taking up residence we swore to hate the new house with undying vitriol, so naturally we'd started to take a liking to it within several days of moving in. It's old, to be sure, but built well; in 1790, when the home was constructed, there were no flimsy windows or prefabricated construction parts. Things then had to last, and they were made to.
In fact, though I'm loath to admit it, this home (which we've taken to calling "the Farmhouse," though it has a more august official title) is preferable in many ways to the one we left. Its high-ceilinged rooms with their hardwood floors and hand-carved marble fireplaces have an Old World charm and its rural setting appeals to the more romantic side of my nature.
In this place, a mere two miles outside of Mountain Town proper, our lives are ruled much more by the elements. Beyond the well lit circle of wagons that is a modern cul-de-sac dusk signals a warning to head for shelter. Those left outside once the sun has retreated are at the mercy of the animals, namely coyotes, that crawl upon our hard brick walls at night.
And what an experience night is. We suburban denizens, with our street lamps and dozens of neighbors, forget the totality of night that our ancestors long knew. Night here isn't a hazy sky hidden by lamps or a time when teenagers stroll across smooth streets. Night is an abyss, a desert of darkness punctured only by the white moon and the startlingly bright stars.
It's kind of cool.
So I'm enjoying myself. I'm enjoying the house. I don't know how long I'll be here, of course. My parents aren't planning to stay more than a few years and there's always the hopeful possibility I'll be offered a job before they've started thinking about where they'll head next. That means, I guess, that I should be ready to leave at any time.
Some things never change.