You know how I thought we were too isolated out there in the woods and that it was time to move to a city neighborhood? Well here we are in the new neighborhood, close to friends and strangers alike, close to downtown events and restaurants, surrounded by the hum of activity and you know what? Not that much has changed.
I should say, I haven’t changed. It seems like, given a choice, I am just as likely to stay in, stay at home, and keep to myself, even preferring to cook for us rather than change clothes and trek out to a restaurant.
I have been amused to observe this about myself. Really, it’s predictable. All my life I have wavered between wanting to hole up and wanting stimulation and new adventure. After decades of entertaining the hole-up tendency in a lovely home in the woods, I am ready for stimulation. This move was in obedience to the adventure instinct. But on the heels of it I got another pretty heavy dose of adventure, the trip to Congo.
On the long trip back from Kinshasa I remember wishing I were going back to my woods house. It was not just because tons of work awaited me in the Pink Lady, which I’d left 10 days after the move. It was also because after two intense weeks with old friends and new, speaking and straining to understand a foreign language, dealing with heat and humidity, and, in the process, getting rather sick with a terrible cold and intestinal disorders, I was ready to hole up. Our former woods house–comfy, dark, isolated–was the ideal hole-up place.
I did collapse for a day or so after my return and then, staying holed up, set to work putting my new home in order. For the last 10 days I haven’t ventured much outside these spacious walls. Grocery, church, Lowe’s, that’s about it. I have been obsessed with unpacking, arranging, fixing up the inside of the house. I can’t even look at the yard. I haven’t even walked around the neighborhood on these glorious spring days. I admire the neighbor’s blossoming trees from my newly set-up study on the second floor. I rejoice in the arrival of curtains ordered online.
Nevertheless, daily I am presented with the opportunity to get out of the cocoon, and this is important, because soon I will be ready. On Saturday, Earth Day, we were invited to join a crew to do neighborhood cleanup but instead we slept in. There was a science march just blocks away but we didn’t join it. I, in fact, stayed inside all Earth Day and posted pictures of my nesting activities until my friend Janie pointed out, in late afternoon, that folks were still milling around in the aftermath of the science march and we could just walk down and join them.
That actually got me out of the house. But Vic was busy raking the yard and I didn’t want to interrupt his work or walk downtown alone. I watched him work for a while. A woman spotted us, the new folks on the block, and crossed over to introduce herself. I appreciated that someone else was outgoing toward us. I appreciated that our friends who live nearby have been dropping in and welcoming us. I took pictures of the next-door neighbor’s tulips.
Soon I will leave the cocoon and become a social butterfly. Give me a few more days.