Monday, August 23, 2010

The Good-bye Chronicles: Chapter 10. Letting Go

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.


DeniseinVA said...

You've got a lot on your plate right now and it sounds like you have three wonderful sons. I also enjoyed that parable you shared with us today. Anyhow, I wanted to come in and wish you happy and safe travels Kathie. Awesome that Chris is going to be traveling across country with you. That's going to be an amazing adventure. I know this is hard leaving everything behind. I'll be thinking of you.
An English Girl Rambles

Anonymous said...

My thoughts will be with you on your journey. Good luck in the sale and finding another house of your dreams. I like your attitude!

Kathryn said...

Kathie, life is always an adventure! Enjoy it to the fullesteach and every day. Safe travels next week. Talk to you soon. Love ya.

Gaelyn said...

Right On Kathie! Follow your heart and the rest will follow. Hope you have a great journey across country with Chris. Prayers to Alex. I'll look forward to reading about your next adventure when you're able.

Arija said...

Good for you Katie! Your guardian angel helped you to figure out what really ailed you. I like your new plan, it will be so much more fun doing things together.
Just believe that the sale of the house will happen when the time is right and it will be for the greatest good of all concerned. Hold on to that thought and it can happen.

Elizabeth said...

Good luck Kathie!!!

Kathie Brown said...

Denise, Sandy, Katnell, Gaelyn, Arija and Elizabeth, thank you all for your encouragement, thoughts and prayers. I went into town today and not only had the oil changed but discovered I needed 2 rear tires and an air filter. Afterwards I took about 30 minutes and stopped at Reid Park to watch the birds. It was so peaceful and relaxing until the ice cream truck came along and played the theme song from the movie The Sting over and over until it drove me mad and I had to leave! However, on the way home I drove on the back roads and saw a blue grosbeak, and a ground dove so that was a nice bonus! One more day by myself and then the craziness begins!

Dan Huber said...

Hoping things settle down for you, sending positive vibes your way.



Anonymous said...

Thats a good parable and a great plan Kathie.

Larry said...

One of the things that I like most about getting into a difficult situation is how your mind is forced to figure out ways to make things better-and your new plan is a good example of what I'm talking about.-Nice story too.

Celeste said...

Hi Kathie, I have been reading your goodbye chronicles with great sadness. Irony is such a funny old thing, as you have been writing about the end of your time in Arizona we have been planning our trip to Tuscon to look at property! How crazy is that? What a funny old world we live in. (If we are successful, I hope you will come and visit :) )

Candice Suter.....Sweetstuff said...

You must be there by now! Can't wait to see your new blog and new adventures. I hope all goes well with the house selling. And all my prayers are with your son Alex. God Bless him!