|Hiking a peaceful creek in Fallbrook with a friend.|
The RV is in chaos, open boxes waiting for something to fit in that one last cranny, a sack for the thrift store, a few items for the kids, what can be packed away and what will I need for the next few days before the unboxing begins in a new place? Moving. One more move; perhaps the last one.
This time without a kitchen waiting presents a new set of questions, thoughts about a new way of being and how this development fits into the Sweet Peace journey. I’m moving into a dorm, albeit a dorm converted to apartments for seniors, apartments without kitchens. There is a central cafeteria and the manager has already joked about the “freshman fifteen.” I remember my own freshman bout with unlimited food, potatoes and dessert at every meal, freedom to explore and indulge. I wonder how I’ll deal with this new environment? Will I be able to hang on to Sweet Peace? It's my choice. Which reminds me of a poem:
Of all my moves, this may be the most radical, even more than moving to Mexico. Solitude has been my norm for the past fifteen years; now I will be living with 215 close neighbors, eating communal meals, choosing to, or not to, participate in community activities. Learning how to adapt to and appreciate the community I've chosen.
The past almost-two years camped in a beautiful oak forest has been a gift, although an isolated one. I am one of the few full-time residents and days can go by without seeing anyone other than the maintenance guys who are always tending the park. I have lovely neighbors on both sides of me, but weeks go by without seeing either of them. Fortunately, telephone, internet, and zoom keep me tethered to the larger world. Now, I will be deep in community, not only my neighbors but friends and all the cultural offerings of being in Santa Barbara. How will I maintain my solitude in the midst of so much richness of community?
I put myself on the waiting list for this apartment in November and have spent the last six months dithering about whether or not I really wanted to make this move. Solitude has become familiar and comfortable. It has also bumped up against isolation which is not so comfortable. Thoughts about how long it would take for someone to find my dead body have reoccured often enough to become a macabre joke.
However, I kept taking two steps forward for every one backwards and here I am. This is the week. Friday, I drive a small U-Haul van to Friendship Manor, my new home, my new life, on the edge of the University of California Santa Barbara campus overlooking the Pacific Ocean, on an island of long-lived souls surrounded by a sea of just beginning spirits.
Who knows what’s next on this journey.