Thursday, September 15, 2016

Here in Maine

My Maine Adventure Begins!
I pulled down the long 15 mph lane of my Kentucky farmhouse for the last time on the last Sunday of August.  The movers had just loaded the van and left minutes before. I glanced at the clock on the dashboard - 12:12. (Most auspicious!)
Lane through the trees
First destination was Philadelphia for a visit with my daughter, son-in-law and youngest grandchild Marco. I arrived late in the evening in their west Philadelphia neighborhood, which is partway into the process of gentrification. The curbs were tightly lined with parked cars and there was no place for me to park that was anywhere near the home they are renting.
Angel in West Philadelphia
Through a re-arranging of their car to open up a spot for mine, I was able to park a half block away. I was taking my suitcase out of the car when my daughter came to meet me and said, “Now we need to unload your car.” It was going on 11:00 pm. I had been on the road for over ten hours. All of the previous days and weeks had been busy with sorting and packing and hauling and last meet-ups with friends and nights of too little sleep. I was exhausted. My car was packed to the gills with stuff that I didn’t send in the moving van: musical instruments, my suitcases, my printer, monitor and laptops, my art supplies, who-knows-what-else.
“No way,” I countered…“we can’t carry all of this stuff a half block to your house! It’s way too much!” “We really should,” she quietly insisted. This dialogue repeated a few times, and finally in a weak attempt at concession I pulled my violin out of the back, the portfolio of illustrations for my next book, and let her carry my other suitcase. I locked the car, asked angels to stand guard through the night, and extended my hand, palm toward the car, putting a shield of Reiki energy around it. “This will have to do,” I said to my daughter.
The following morning as neighbors left for work, parking places opened up directly in front of my daughter’s home. “Now you really should move your car and we should unload it.” I agreed. I walked down the block and as I began to unlock my car to get in, a voice called out from a porch “That was a really bad idea.”  Not guessing that it was I who was being addressed, I continued to get in the car, when the voice took embodiment in the form of a tall African American man who was coming down his porch steps and saying directly to me for the second time, “That was a really bad idea.”
He went on to explain that in this neighborhood, you don’t leave stuff in your car. You can’t expect it to not be broken into. He said he had seen me park there and consult with my daughter, and saw me walk off and leave the car filled with possessions. “You must have been tired,” he intuited. I said that I was. He told me that around 1:30 A.M. he awoke and looked out to see a man sitting on the step at the end of his front sidewalk, just looking and looking at my car. He went out and told the man to move on. He said I was very lucky.
I did feel lucky! And I felt as though the Reiki energy shield that I had placed around the car was somehow delaying the man from breaking in, and the gentleman who sent him on his way and was now reporting all of this to me was one of the guardian angels I had asked for protection! I thanked him, moved the car, and unloaded everything with the help of my daughter and son-in-law. Even for the 24-hours that was left of my visit with them, I felt that I didn’t want to tempt fate again.
I spent that day blissfully interacting with Marco and the evening enjoying a Middle Eastern-Mediterranean style dinner out with Susanna and Camilo. By late the next morning I was on my way to Maine.
Me and Marco!

Susanna and Marco wave bye from porch

Upon crossing over the Maine state line, the heavenly scent of fresh pine permeated the air.  I arrived at my Brunswick daughter’s home after dark, and was greeted at the door by the whole family saying “Welcome to Maine!” My granddaughter Iris looked up at me with her eyes shining and her smile radiant. It was the best welcome ever!
A Plethora of Boxes!
The next day I spent caring for my grandchildren Iris and Arlo, then in the evening met my new landlord and lady and the movers at my new home. All of the furniture and household goods were skillfully unloaded in record time. After the van had pulled away, I came back into the house. Each room was stacked with boxes! There was the furniture, too, of course. But the boxes and boxes! I couldn’t fathom how much stuff I thought I needed. It was ridiculous that one person should have so much stuff. And this was even after sorting and giving away a lot of it before leaving Kentucky. I vowed that the next time I move, it will be with half as many boxes.
I made up the bed and lay down in my new bedroom. I slept soundly amidst all the boxes until dawn and awoke feeling very much at home.
The next few days were divided between grandchild-care and unpacking. On Day 3 I decided to put my priorities in proper order and took the morning to explore a river path two miles from my new home. The weather was fine and clear, the temperature was perfect. Being immersed in such a lovely natural setting was most restorative for me. The path is for walking and bicycling: two things that I love to do!
River Walk!

River!

Home Sweet Home and the Essence of Friends
In just a few days I managed to find a place for everything and everything in its place. As I opened all of these too many boxes and unwrapped all of the various items, I understood why I had chosen to bring so many of them with me. Almost none of them were purchases of my own. Here were the gifts and memories and items inherited and donated to me from so many of you! It is good to have them around me here. Collectively they provide the essence of friends and loved ones near and far, infusing this new dwelling place with familiarity and helping me to feel welcome. I know that there will come a time to let go of each of them in turn, but for now, I am grateful to have them around me, reminding me of all of you.
Aunt Marion’s Clock
One of these cherished possessions is a LeCoulter clock passed down to me from my Aunt Marion. Featured in my first book Chapters From the Farmhouse Journal, it had engendered special significance to me when, after never keeping good time before my move to the farmhouse, it kept perfect time once I placed it on the mantle in my first few days there. I felt that it was telling me I was right where I was supposed to be.
In the past couple of years, though, I had noticed that it was off again, and just this year it stopped working all together. It is a valuable clock, one that is powered by the gravity of the earth; it never needs winding. I could not spare the money to see to its being repaired, but I brought it with me and set it up here to see if by chance it would run. It began to run as soon as I unlatched the catch that keeps it still. It is keeping perfect time! I feel that it is letting me know that I am right where I am supposed to be! As a special bonus, the day I set it up here happened to be my Aunt Marion’s birthday, September 4th!
Aunt Marion's Clock

Bald Eagle
On Day 5 (Labor Day), with only one box left to unpack, and the pictures yet to hang, I took the whole day off of any and all work and re-visited the river walk. I felt filled to overflowing with gratitude. With each step it was as though my sneakers were saying in rhythm, “thank – you – thank – you –left- right- thank- you.” A bald eagle gliding along the river passed very near to me. Another welcome! I believe that may have been the first time I have ever seen a bald eagle in the wild.
Colorful-Flowered Skirt and a New Neighbor
As I walked along I looked down at what I had put on to wear that morning: a pair of brightly colored pink, purple, yellow and green flowery skorts with a pink t-shirt…one of my former massage therapist “outfits”. ”Hmmm,” I thought to myself, this is not really the average get-up to wear hiking in this “Home of L.L.Bean” territory. I wondered how I must stand out, or whether or not I appeared ridiculous, but didn’t really care.
On my way back along the walk two young women were power-walking with their fitbits and their sleek black stretch pants and sporty, perspiration-wicking tank tops with matching headbands. I overheard their conversation about men and relationships. One of them smiled at me and said, “I LOVE your skirt!” Wow, I thought! Who knew?!
Shortly after, a woman who was walking toward me looked at me and said, “Oh! Are you just moving in…?” I said “Yes!” She explained that she recognized me because of my skirt! She had seen me leaving my house earlier, which is across the street from her house, and of course this loud and colorful skirt made an impression! She introduced herself and we talked. She heard I was a writer. We quickly entered into a more meaningful discussion than one would normally engage in on such short acquaintance. As we parted ways, I thought how useful this “loud”skirt had turned out to be!
Flowery skirt
I went further along the trail and came to a place where large flat rocks extend out almost crossing the river. I stopped to appreciate the site.
Rocks across the river
Before long a young child and her “Gammy” came along. The little girl skipped across the rocks toward me and announced excitedly, “I always put my feet in the water whenever I come here!”  Watching her and then her Gammy sit down and take off their shoes and socks and put their feet in the water, I could not refrain from joining in. We sat and talked and enjoyed the refreshing moment as if we were all good friends. It didn’t matter that we never met before and hadn’t even exchanged names.
On my way back home, I found a farmer’s market and loaded up with fresh, locally grown produce. Maine blueberries for sure! This afternoon I sat out on the deck reading and relaxing. The landlord and lady, who live in the other half of this duplex, came out and we chatted. They are very nice people, and I am thrilled that this renting sight-unseen-long-distance-from-Kentucky has worked out so very well.
Landowners: Jason, Angie and Cole (and Lily)
A Welcome Orchid from My New Landlady
I look forward to this time of being a nearby grandmother to one part of my family here.
Iris taking my picture

Arlo is happy!
Streganonna and Iris
Special Moments

I plan to continue my writing and illustrating, and my search for a literary agent for a book I have written. I hope to begin marketing my voiceover work again. And there is lots of exploring to do in this beautiful state of Maine!
Already I have been to visit my sister, niece and nephew at a friend’s “camp”, which is what Mainers call a summer lake house. It is about an hour from my home.
Lake through the trees

Sunset on East Pond
And spent a glorious Sunday afternoon at a State Park beach, about 45 minutes from home.
Ocean with Sailboats

Sandpipers on the beach!

Waves

Blissful day at the seashore
I think I am really going to love it here.

Some of you have requested photos of my new home, so here are some.
1880 original structure half of duplex
  
back door

front door

New doormat: All are welcome!

Settling in

View out front door
Kitchen

Kitchen

Refrigerator full of farewell and encouragement!
Living Room

Stairway with two turns!

Guest bedroom

Bedtime reading corner

Bedroom

Tree at front door too lovely to cut down

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