I can’t say the house is silent. The hum of the fan and the chorus of cicadas keeps it from being so. But it is very quiet. Up at 4AM–coffee, bacon, eggs scrambled with vegetables, and sprouted grain toast have made the house smell like Saturday morning much earlier than usual. David is on a motorcycle ride to West Virginia, and I am headed to a professional women’s workshop day in the opposite direction a little later. I’ve had some kind of ick that’s been going around, and made an attempt to corral tissue boxes and nasal sprays, to rinse tea cups and dry the kettle before heading back to bed with coffee and laptop.
Today is a wrinkle in the new normal. It is rare that the weekend is not some combination of fun outings, brief errands/chores, and dinner or brunch at least once with friends. Together. Attached at the hip. We are so constantly together I feel sometimes that I am close to understanding what it means to be on suicide watch, with me the one being watched, as if I might stuff a couple of changes of underwear and my camera in a satchel and make a run for it back south. And I might.
Last night Hanson’s Disease (leprosy) was the topic of conversation while out with friends and it was all I could do to not tell the entire story of my experiences living in and taking road trips through Louisiana, including Carville, location of a former leper colony and now the Hanson’s Disease Museum. I could feel nighttime in St. Francisville on my skin and smell the Mississippi even in the clean-swept plaza of brick and astro turf (no lie–the town center has a patch of astro turf). If someone had put an Abita in my hand at that moment I would have wept. There are many more moments where I feel myself cutting through the coolness of the Guadalupe in the late afternoon in August, or navigating never-forgotten short cuts through the oldest parts of San Antonio.
Every time I tell someone how much I love it here in the Frozen North it feels hollow–without the fullness of a history, minus a thick catalog of smells and feels. Of course I love it here–the schools are amazing, I can walk across the street and get on a train to anywhere I want to go, and there are four distinct seasons. Yesterday I posted a comment on Facebook about feeling like I was on an overly-long vacation, and realized as soon as I hit “Post” that I had not provided a context for that, nor could I, really, because that context is still fleshing out.
I know in my rational mind that I will get up one morning and it will seem as if I’ve always been here. That the dream quality my life in Texas is developing will be hazier, the loss of friends and distance of family less acute, and that this life will not be a wrinkle in what is, it will be what is. I’ve started doing things like getting my car washed and taking my clothes to the cleaners–ordinary things not required for survival, to help things along. Anything to feel at home again.