There is an old story I like to tell myself whenever we have to move again. I told it to myself when we left Utah to move down here. Now I remind myself of it once again. I do not remember where I first heard it but it goes like this.
A man lived in the jungle and wanted to catch a monkey for a pet. So, he put a peanut in the bottom of a narrow necked bottle and tied it to a stake. When the troop of monkeys came by in the afternoon one of the younger monkeys saw the bottle gleaming in the sunlight with the peanut in its depths. The monkey ambled over to the strange object, examined it, and reached inside the bottle. Its leathery hand clasped the peanut tightly excited about his treasure. But, as the monkey tried to extract the peanut form the bottle he could not do it. With its hand clutching the peanut tightly its fist was too large to remove from the bottle. Yet, if the monkey let go, it would not have its treasure. So, the monkey held on and screamed in frustration. The man heard the commotion and came running with a net and captured the monkey. For the rest of its days the monkey lived in confinement because he would not let go.
For me, I see this as a parable for my life. I cannot have the next thing if I do not let go of what I already have. I will be held captive by what is instead of gaining my freedom to reach for what could be. Mentally I had been going through this exercise for days on end interspersed with tears and sweet longing. I looked around my yard at all the plants I planted. I sat in my hot tub and looked at my mesquite tree. It barely reached above the top of the 6 foot wall when we moved here 3 ½ years ago, now it provides towering shade to the yard and shelter for the birds. I can’t help but think of it as “MY” mesquite tree and I wonder if the new owners of my house will love it and cherish it like I do. From a brief moment I feel selfish. I do not want to share my mesquite tree with anyone else! But of course, it does belong here and I must let it go.
So it is Thursday, August 5 that I wake in the morning with an intense feeling of sadness. I wander about the house and yard doing my morning chores of watering and feeding birds and pets. I wander aimlessly from room to room looking at each room, each vista with sadness. I ask myself, why do I feel this way? I am ready to go. I am ready for the next adventure, the next phase of my life. I do feel that this is the right thing to do, so why am I feeling so sad? Then it hits me. I want to go with Gus.
Our original plan was for Gus to leave first while I stay behind to deal with the house. Gus leaves this Saturday morning and I am staying for another 10 days to 2 weeks to get the house ready to show and to transition my son and his family in to live here until the house sells, IF it sells. The housing market here has suffered a severe blow and if we can sell our house at all it will be far below what we paid for it. It has become the most stressful part of this move. Anyway, I planned on flying back east towards the end of August so I could see my brother before he heads back to Florida for the winter and to help Gus search for our new home on the east coast. Then, I would fly back here at the beginning of October and stay until the movers come to pack up our stuff. Then Gus and I would drive across country with our pets and our other car and I would leave for good.
At first I liked this idea and I thought about all the birding I could do and all the adventures I could have while Gus was gone and I was free to do as I pleased. But this morning it finally occurred to me that I just want to go with him. We have always made these transitions together. We have had so many adventures with all the moves we have made. I no longer want to stay here and wait. I want to go now! So, I formulate new plan and spring it on Gus when he calls. What if, I say, instead of waiting for me to move out there in November I can get one of our sons to drive with me across the country with our car and out pets and I came now and stay there now and we both just fly back here when it’s time to pack up the house? Gus says, wow! I like that idea. And so we have a new plan.
The rest of the day I while I am cleaning house and doing laundry I am also planning. I pose the idea to two of my three sons to see which one might be able to go on this adventure with me. I am full of excitement now and as I look out the windows at the birds peacefully feeding I realize that I am finally ready to take down my bird feeders and say good-bye to the birds of Sycamore Canyon.
Update 8-23-10: I had another post to publish before this one with lots of bird photos and I wanted to add bird photos to this post but I keep getting a 403 error message saying “forbidden.” I think this means I have exceeded my limit to photos on Picasa Web Albums. I went to their site this morning but there is so much data to read through that I do not have time to figure all of this out right now. I am getting ready to drive across the country with my vehicle and my pets this week. My son, Chris, is flying in from Maine to make the drive with me. My son, G and his wife and my grandson Xavier are moving into our house to rent it until it sells. If it sells. We have not had one person come to look at the house yet. To add to the stress, my youngest son, Alex, left for the war in Afghanistan last week. I need to get an oil change done on the car today. So, I am posting this as my last post unless and until I can figure things out.