Saturday, July 26, 2014

What it Means to be Settled


Honey Dewlicious Melon

And then, one morning this past week, I felt settled. I cut up a melon for breakfast, and it was in the top five most delicious melons I've ever tasted. The three of us sat at the table, eating melon (or rejecting it wholeheartedly, in the case of Henrietta) and talking. The house was in good enough shape that I cleaned up easily, without stepping around enormous boxes or having to look at a baffling mess in the living room while I did it. We had all rested. We had things to do which didn't seem like pressing emergencies in order for us to live in this place. We could just be here, working out our days in this new house with the big, green trees out our windows.

The view from our bedroom window
I'm not sure why exactly, but so far Alabama--the place itself--hasn't been the difficult transition I expected. It is undeniably beautiful here, which I'm sure helps. On my way to Target I pass green fields full of horses and the most incredible trees. The trees, the trees, the trees. Can you tell I lived in the desert? It rains here, rains quite a bit, so moss grows on the trees and the rocks, and sometimes when I'm outside I see the world's finest, fingernail-sized frogs, which look like tiny leaves until they jump. Henrietta plays in our backyard, running over to look at the neighbor's chickens, running to chase me, running and laughing. She has so much room.

The house is the right house. It's big enough for us to stay here awhile. I type you this missive, dear reader, from my own office, located in the back top corner of the house. It's quiet in here, full of my things and the art I love is on the walls, and my books are on the shelves, and I can see my sewing machine waiting for me.

Looking out the window, wrapped in sheer curtains
At the produce market, I stop a woman who is grabbing big handfuls of strange, long purple and green mottled beans. Pink-eyed Peas, the sign reads. I say, "Excuse me, but how do you cook those?" "Same way I cook collards," she answers. And she tells me. We have them for dinner the next night. Another night I make cornbread and Sam boils shrimp. Another night he fries okra. I steam summer squash and toss it with a little butter and Sam declares it the best thing on the table.

People are so kind here. And I know some of them may not be as kind as their exterior, but I'm frankly so pleased to mill around with kind exteriors all day. The young man at the grocery store, eyes bright and clear, looks in mine, and says, "I would really love to help you out to your car with these groceries." And I am so astonished that he seems to mean it (even if it is store policy--store policy! to help everyone out with their groceries!) that I can't answer for a second. I want to hug him.

I don't really know what this place will bring. I don't know how long we'll stay. But I have a feeling that we'll stay for awhile. That we are, to some extent, experiencing what it means to be settled. Cross my fingers, say my prayers.

Walking to the Farmer's Market



8 comments:

belann said...

Although I would rather the settling take place out west somewhere, I am thrilled you are feeling comfortable and happy there.

Terry Earley said...

We can certainly feel more settled-ness in your voice and now in your writing. You are too far away again, but the path is your path.

God bless always.

CowanTravels said...

Wonderful!

Dani said...

I found this very settling myself... we bought our first home about three weeks ago, in an state I never dreamed I'd live in. Life pushed into overdrive that weekend and hasn't let up. House is great, but we are definitely not settled. Probably won't be for awhile longer, until life slows enough for me to breathe. However, your thoughts made me feel peaceful and hopeful. Soon enough, we will feel settled too, because I like this state more than I ever realized I would...

Stacy said...

Fingernail frogs! Take photos! I love frogs. Anyway, I am so glad you are settled into the greenery. Sounds lovely.

Amara said...

I want to see the fingernail frogs too! I hear you with the kind exteriors. Good enough for me. That's when I really don't care what people think: if they're being kind and polite.

Jenny said...

So glad you are liking it there so far! Keep the posts coming! :)

Elise said...

I love you. So glad you're settling in.