It is finally moving day and August has gifted us with a gloriously cool morning. The Fates and fortune that took us to Ohio twenty-seven years ago are now taking us back home, to Indiana.
The last fifteen of those twenty-seven years have been lived here, in this house. Built among an acre of spruce and pines, it was once our dream home, but now our dreams have changed. Now our hearts tell us we need to return to our hometown and the comforting circle of family and friends there.
Soon the last box will be stowed and this day will pass but for now the memories run deep and they roll through my mind in ceaseless vignettes. The days, the seasons, the years slipping past in the quick/slow tempo of recollection, the day is bittersweet.
The crew of movers is a friendly noisy group, experienced in handing not only the furniture but anxious homeowners as well. They chat as they move through the house assessing, wrapping and stacking our possessions.
The benches that Jay refinished when we first moved to Ohio are cocooned in layers of blankets, upended and carted off. Rocky, the jokester of the moving crew points out that the big dresser I have had since I was twenty should never be moved because of its weight. It is the same comment we hear every time it is moved and that makes me smile. The elaborately scrolled wooden secretary, handed down from Jay’s mother is admired as they discuss the best way to protect it’s glass front. The bright yellow, numbered stickers placed on every box, crate and piece of furniture is that item’s ticket to board the truck to Indiana.
Retreating from the rush I find a seat on the screened in porch and John, the lead mover, seems to understand that I am having a difficult day and tells me he will leave the table and chair on the porch until the last. Knowing that I need my little spot of refuge until they have finished. How nice it is to sit here, where I have sat so many times before, reading, writing, and watching the birds.
More quickly then I can imagine each stickered box, each piece of furniture finds it’s way into the cavernous maw of the truck. All of our possessions fitting together inside like a giant 3-D jigsaw puzzle. Every trip they make in and out of the house depletes the rooms until we are left standing in the large empty space that was our family room. Making sure nothing remains we gather even these last memories and walk out the door.
At the closing, excitement is bursting from the young couple buying our house but we are stuck in this moment of transition, not in either place. We still have the three and half hour drive to Indy to make tonight, so we get in the cars to head west. It is a familiar trip, one taken many times over the years, yet this one feels different. As I drive, I think about the bonds that tie us to the place we are leaving and those we are traveling towards. Life changes and we are changing with it. We look forward to being home.
As our cars pull into my sister’s driveway, family surrounds us and I know that this moving day is finally over, this first step in the journey of returning. There will be other difficult parts I know, but perhaps this was the hardest, the leaving.