The thermometer in my car has not read higher than 8 degrees since Sunday. My mornings have been consumed by weather in ways I can’t remember acknowledging before. Typically I get ready for work and leave my house with few moments of staying present. I am quick to dress and pour coffee in my to-go cup. I am quick to strap up my boots and get to my car. I am quick to turn off lights and lock the door behind me. Everything about my mornings is centered on quickness. But this week has been abnormal. The cold weather has found me procrastinating what I should be focused on, looking for excuses to stay inside. Three consecutive mornings I found myself on the couch with my coffee, savoring a few moments of morning silence. Once I caught myself looking at my boots on the rug, thinking that the salt stains add a chapter of intimacy to their story; the weather they have encountered has heightened their awareness of inner-strength. I have slowed my morning routine just enough to notice my mother’s reflection in my eyes as I’m applying make-up. I have also recognized it is a personal challenge to slow my pace. My natural speed is not lackadaisical. But in taking hold of these small moments to shift from drive to neutral, I have discovered another layer of my day I didn’t have before. A sweet and salty layer that belongs to only me.
My lull in writing in this blog can be attributed to life becoming unexpectedly busy. Sean called me some afternoons ago mentioning a house for rent. While we had briefly discussed the idea of moving from our complex, it wasn’t an idea I was actively pursuing. However, tired of the neighbors upstairs and weary from crating groceries as Sean was, and fueled from hearing my complaints of a laundry-machine-less home, Sean, unbeknownst to me, had been scouring rentals for some weeks. So, when he called about a home for rent, I was instantly surprised and super curious. Sean is certainly a doer and he certainly never says anything without strong intention. Knowing this, I took his interest to heart and said, “yeah, sure. Let’s drive by.” Which, we did later that night. And after seeing and loving, we expedited our opportunities by nagging the rental placement agency until they promised to allow us to be the first to look at it. Which was all it took: that one look inside, for us to know that we had to have this house to grow in our first years of marriage.
I believe in feelings and first glances. That is, after all, how I knew Sean was the one for me. Why would our first little home be any different?
We spent last week moving and unpacking, and now with only my wedding dress, a tall plant, and some various boxes waiting to be moved from our old apartment, I can say with certainty that this new house already feels like home. Tonight, Sean and I will head to our apartment to clean and gather our lingering possessions. It will be sad to walk out. I always think about the last episode of Mary Tyler Moore when they close the lights on the newsroom. Moves always feel that way to me: sad, but thoughtful. I know I’ll get sentimental about our first apartment in the city, that’s just who I am. It was the place Sean came back to me after a long summer abroad. It was the place we had our first disagreement. It was the place Sean played his guitar late into the evening each night. It was the place I hosted parties and showers for my best friends. It was the place we learned patience, where we grew fresh tomatoes, where we sat for dinner each night. It was the place I found peace in the quiet mornings. It was the place we came to after our proposal. It was our place. But I will be ready, when the lights turn off in our apartment, to head home to our cute new home. Because we have a new place now, for new memories and room for growth.
This entry was written on Sunday, but posted on a Thursday. Some weeks are like that.
There is a blue car that sits in the corner of our apartment. I bought it one rainy morning, on a whim, when my friend, Tracy and I were wandering World Market. We had to have a man help us put it in her car, but he wasn’t listening and said it couldn’t be done. We decided to just put it in ourselves. Yes folks, it could be done. And so after shoving it in the car, we brought it home. I remember it was the first bigger, more expensive item I had purchased since Sean and I had moved in together. I was kind of afraid he would be mad at me for buying it. But he wasn’t. He silently got his tool kit from the closet and started putting it together. Now, some days when I come home he is sitting in it, reading or playing his guitar, and it makes me very happy, to see this item a staple in our home, to see all the random things we’ve purchased, all coming together to make our home.
This blue chair is the best place to sit and drink coffee. But I don’t always have the opportunity to appreciate it like I wish. So when I do come to this chair, on Sundays normally, I come quietly, before Sean has risen, while the heaters hum and clank, and I simply sit. On this particular Sunday the sun has come out for the first time in almost a week. It comes pouring into our space, and I look at the streaks on our wood floors realizing I should probably sweep. But it seems there is always something to do, something to finish, something to clean. And this morning I am at peace. I don’t have time for worry; I’m too busy drinking coffee. It’s almost the weekend…I think I can, I think I can, I think I can….
The end of a season in Michigan can be easily marked. Cooling temperatures of the evening slowly begin to erase green from the tops of the trees, urging them to change into oranges and yellows by the morning. And in it’s path, it warns us to take late night wanderings through the garden, to pluck any last tomatoes we can find, to bring them in and preserve them for the long winter months to follow. Like squirrels we begin hoarding the freshness of summer, fearing an opportunity loss by the morning. And as the warmth of these September days surrender themselves, a breeze hits our dining room table, telling me to turn off our ceiling fan and find a sweater. Come bedtime I have found socks for my feet and a heated blanket for my bed just in case.
Fall is tricky like that around here. Even though you aren’t ready for it to come, it is already in motion. Without my recognition, our tomato plants have begun to slow their production. Our sandwich tomatoes are becoming smaller the colder it gets at night. The last of our cherry tomatoes, which have been hanging on the vine green for some time now, have begun to drop prematurely from their branches, not yet red. I am not ready for this transition. It has been months since we have had to go to the Farmers’ Market or grocery store for tomatoes. For a season I have taken advantage of our tomato plants, happily pawing through them each evening before I go up to our apartment to start dinner.
But all good things must come to an end, and when Mother Nature closes a doors, she opens a window… isn’t that how that cliche goes? Either way. Cliche or no cliche, Fall is here, in Michigan. And our garden, that we spent hours tending to, is now ready to be rooted out so our soil can be cleansed for next year’s crop.
Hello, Fall. I’m so glad you’re here.
And, until I can venture out to the garden again, I’ll be sure to spend some extra time in our botanical living room, where the sun is always sure to pour in and I can smell the coffee from the other room.
Happy Wednesday, y’all. We’re half way through the week!
Lately I love…Reading in bed.
The color yellow.
Staying up late.
Any excuse to stay home.
Knowing we are SO close to the end of How I Met Your Mother!
Children who don’t bicker.
Taking my mom’s advice.
Setting the dinner table.
Browsing Pinterest for picnic wedding ideas.
The simple act of “being”.
Catching up with my girlfriends.
Picnics by our community garden.
What are you loving these days?
The final and actual destination for our trip out East, despite our stops along the way, was Harrisville, New Hampshire. We were there for three days, celebrating the marriage of Sean’s older brother and wife. It was pretty amazing. All of Sean’s lifelong friends were there, in one house, playing games, preparing meals, sharing old stories, making new stories, setting the tables, manning the grill, watching the sun set, practicing yoga, basking in the hot tub, admiring the mountains, taking walks, watching little goats prance, dancing, camping, hiking through the woods, sharing an experience we will never forget. It was so much fun to get away and simply be! We didn’t have to work or worry, we just had to be present, to celebrate, to love. I’m hoping this week away will lead to a regular trip somewhere each year with this group of friends— that we can take time for each other once a year, no matter how crazy life can get for us (because dang, being in a house with all of these people was one hilarious experience!). I already take a weekend each summer with my girlfriends and I know what a relief it is to have our special trip each year. Hopefully this trip is the start of a great tradition! Do you and your knit of friends have fun traditions?
Life isn’t always a bowl of cherries. But on a Mid-Western summer night, sometimes a bowl of cherries can make life a whole lot better. These are the weekend memories that my Monday not so…Monday. Have a great week everyone!