Ruminations on Change

So, the back stairs have been repaired, and our building painted.  The idea of “home” runs so strong and deep it feels a physical part of me, painful to separate from. Thinking we’ll soon have to leave here, in between bouts of tears I want to appreciate and remember our home and garden in all its complexity:

The rain dripping from the front eaves and broken gutter in the back of the house, ferocious during a good downpour, the whole house lighting up in the rare thunderstorm.

Hanging laundry to dry by the only heater in the apartment. The earwigs caught up in laundry I hang on the garden clothesline, angrily biting when I shake them out. The pill bugs, beetles, and salamanders settling and creeping through stacks of flowerpots, figurines, and broken crockery buried and unearthed in the yard. The rats who ate our strawberries until I made a cage of wire mesh. The spiders spinning webs in the compost bin and piles of yard debris.

The cute, quirky turn-of-the-19th-century built-ins holding our china and books in the kitchen and bedroom. The lead-crystal knobs and glass panes on our doors; the high ceilings and hardwood floors. The beautiful light streaming into the front living room windows in late afternoon. The great views from there and the kitchen, where you can look out over several lush gardens beyond. Our quiet, dark bedroom, a nest in the middle of the house.

Through our treehouse-like, tiny back office, christened “the mold room” after renovating the old completely rotted room, I once again grew closer to the seasons after spending many years cooped up inside a large office building. Also a great place to hear the rain pounding on the roof, from the mold room we watch at eye-level fat, cheeping little bushtits eating in the ivy, camellia, and fruit tree; and warblers, juncos, ravens, and crows nesting and playing in the giant eucalyptus next door. We have extraordinary peace and privacy in the garden, thanks to a strategic location between trees, bushes, other buildings and a fence. It’s hard to take an animal out of its habitat. With humans, though, it’s much more complicated. We have the ability to readily adapt to new situations and habitats. If we so choose.

At the back of my mind also lurks the memory of my mother becoming too ill to keep our old house. The terrible fear of losing everything and falling to that same fate. But that was a different situation, a long time ago. I count myself lucky, considering everything people go through. Most lucky to have a supportive partner like B., who looks to a new future with hope and excitement. A creature of habit very resistant to change, I’m filled with rage and resentment at being priced out of the city where I largely grew up, but unfortunately this is common nowadays. The time has come to make a change.

Last but most important is the possibility of leaving this area and our wonderful friends. We’ve been right in the heart of San Francisco’s Noe Valley, where everything is here or a short walk to the Mission, the Castro, the Haight. Anything farther is accessible by bus. That’s not something you can find everywhere. But no matter where we move, even if it’s completely out of the Bay Area, I know we’ll stay in close touch with the friends that, in our over 10 years here, have become family, part of our lives. And we won’t soon forget having spent so many good years in this historic house on the hill.

Forget-me-not, surviving and ready to bloom!


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About thislittleplot

Writer, hiker, loafer
This entry was posted in Birds, Family, Friends, Garden, Nature, Seasons, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Ruminations on Change

  1. Michele Stone says:

    Beautiful, and sad….

  2. I haz a sad after reading this! There’s gotta be some way to keep you guys here!

    • U r sweet – Jimmy! Looks like change is coming, but hopefully all will work out for the best, and I know we’ll stay in touch no matter what (you can come visit!).

  3. yuri says:

    this makes me too sad for words. i think i will go into denial now.

  4. Irene says:

    I know we don’t see you all that often, but it would be sad to have you move out of the area anyway. As an alternative, perhaps we can convince you to move up to Grass Valley – it’s beautiful, close to nature, and quite inexpensive compared to the Bay Area.

    • Hi I: What a lovely thought, thank you! We’re still in the starting our search, so will definitely keep that in mind (and I know we don’t get together often, but I think of you guys often indeed).

  5. Utherben says:

    I also have many loving memories of your home and your welcoming garden. Change is hard, but sometimes we end up with something better than what we started with, and our journey in life continues on. My thoughts are with you & B. and I hope you find a good, safe, reasonably priced place to live soon. With a garden (or at least good light for potted plants)!

  6. Shonna says:

    I’m sorry that your time there is coming to an end. I just love what you wrote. I think you and B. would be happiest in the East Bay though (I say with great hope in my heart). I cannot believe how snobby I used to be living in SF for 25 years and thinking all other places sucked. They don’t, I am humbled. The East Bay is teaming with nature… parks, hiking, fields of wild flowers (not quite in bloom yet), waterways, birds… all of it. You will find a new happy place, if we can help, let us know. Our thoughts are with you.

    • Aw, thanks so much my dear. We are still just starting out in our search, so are definitely considering EB; I hear what you say about an earlier snobbery blossoming into appreciation. I know it has a ton to offer! xoxo

  7. owlwoman says:

    A sad post. I hope the move goes as well as it can – it’s stressful enough even when one’s chosen to do it. I’ve visited San Francisco a few times, and loved the Noe Valley/Mission areas. Hope you find a good place.

  8. Chris says:

    One of your best posts, I hate to say.

    I’m sad this has happened to you guys.

    On the other hand, the next adventure awaits. I hope it lands you guys in the sunnyside, the East Bay.

  9. Jessie says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I’m thinking about you so much and hoping for a wonderful new chapter for you guys.

    • Thank you, my dear – your friendship means so much to both of us! I know whatever happens, we’ll be OK, and am also hopeful about an exciting new chapter of our lives.

  10. AmyS says:

    Your visceral imagery invokes memories of my own search for a new home, which has taken several manifestations over the last few years. I’m with y’all there in spirit. By the way, Charlottesville, VA has many things to offer! xo

    • yes, I often think of how your journey has taken you back to your ancestral home, and how things have fallen into place in many ways for you! It’s similar to the way I returned West after NYC, really “coming home” without thinking of it consciously in those terms. Luv u! xoxo

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