I made a cup of tea this morning. The scent of Taiwanese Milk Oolong wafted up from the boiling water and drifted through my senses, entangling with memories forgotten.
Many years ago, my husband and I sold our lives, quit our jobs, and retired in the middle of our lives to toss the cat and ourselves into a one ton truck pulling a 30 foot fifth wheel trailer. Like turtles, we lived with our house on our backs. We crisscrossed North America following nature, not maps, passing back and forth and up and down as the seasons changed, bird and wildlife migration shifted, and wildflowers and fall colors peaked.
Working from within the aluminum box we called home, I’d take moments in the day to walk from my desk to the tiny sink and tea kettle. Waiting the 3 minutes for the water to boil, I’d look out the windows.
It is a strange feeling to be in your home, safe and familiar, yet outside, the world around you changes as you move from place to place, new environments, new people, new cultures, new perspectives. I treasured those moments, but lost them when I moved into a home that didn’t move. I kept moving, but it wasn’t the same. I missed it for a while, then I forgot.
Some days, the view would be of wildflowers, pinks, purples, blues, reds, yellows, and green as far as the eye could see, bowing rainbow heads in the soft Texas breeze. Or elk gathering around the back of the trailer eyeing my tiny garden preciously hung on the top step of the ladder to the roof, evaluating the effort it would take to stand and reach for the delicate foreign tastes of parsley, basil, and thyme. Or vast stretches of gray, white, and blue as we parked on the moraine of an ancient glacier in Alaska, it’s cracking and shifting pace, calving bergs, and river rushes music white noise and vibrations that rock us to sleep.
Moving into a home that doesn’t move doesn’t mean life stops moving. People change. They age, move, shift in their perspectives around you. Life falls to construction as homes and businesses consume nature with the never-ending need for expansion, expansion, expansion, and money. Politics changes the world, ebbing and flowing around justified positions of right and wrong, good and bad, constantly judging others and finding fault, and once in a while, a precious moment, comes together in unity over a shared cause, filled with such hope and expectation, then limited or completely dashed by bureaucracy and greed in the long run, returning back to a changed but new normal.
Just as a home that moves doesn’t stay still, so goes a home that doesn’t move. Foundations shift, roofs leak, paint peels, plants grow, threatening to take over the plants you want with ones you don’t. It’s the politics within the home. What stays, what goes, and who says it should be just this way or not? As you struggle to keep up with the changes outside the home, you struggle to keep up with the changes within.
Everything is in motion. Everything moves.
I look down at the tea cup, the warmth easing into my arthritic fingers with comfort, the scent of chocolately orchids pulling memories of life on the road before my eyes. Staring against the blank wall of my office, I see the wildflowers, elk, and mountains. I rock with the memory of movement that is in every step across the trailer as it responds to the shifts in weight across the four tires. I’d forgotten how important it is to take a moment and reflect on the view outside your window, be it the same or different than the day before. It is always different. Nothing stays the same. We don’t have to be moving all the time to remember that. Yet I forgot.
I take a sip and remember. Then take my cup and walk outside my home into a new world.