OREGON, HO

Cookie is helping me type this, as you can see. So far, her body weight won’t hold down a letter key, but she tries, she tries…

Well, it’s happening again. My inner gypsy has been waking up and stretching. I believe she was first poked from her deep sleep sometime last January, when Carter and I were lumbering through a medical quagmire. In the midst of it, I recognized how alone I was, locally, in the nuts and bolts of it: No one nearby who could take on our dogs for a few days. No one to step up and handle some chicken duty, or drive with me to the hospital. No one to just sit with me while I held a cup of coffee in shaky hands, wondering out loud if my husband was going to die.

Carter’s son, Johnny, jumped a plane in Florida to be by his father’s side for a few days. “Come and stay with us in Florida. We don’t like you being so far away. When this stuff happens, we want to be able to help,” he said. My inner gypsy blinked and opened her eyes. Florida? Live in Florida? Nope. Can’t do that one. Swamps just don’t speak to me. Gypsy rolled over and tried to go back to sleep.

Then the Northwest began to whisper. Remember Oregon? Your old home? Your old friends? Your family just a few hours away further south? Actually, the whisper came out of Johnny’s wife’s—Candice’s—mouth. “My mom lives near Portland. I want our children to grow up with family. Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all move to Oregon?” My sleeping gypsy said, “Huh? Oregon?” She rose up on one elbow and wiped the sleep from one eye. “Oregon…”

And so the caravan has begun slowly assembling. Johnny’s best friend (with wife and baby) in all the world has also decided to relocate in Portland. Funny coincidence, that. We are all musing over real estate listings. I’ve been calling old friends. Sometime next month, Carter and I will head out to Oregon and just look around. I’ll renew some old friendships. We will “feel” our way.

Meanwhile, I’m soaking up all the healing magic of the Enchanted Forest that is raining down upon us this autumn: Golden leaves drifting down upon my head like a baptism. Fresh flowing waters in the creeks and gullies. Fat and dangling seed heads in the garden. The plop of frogs in the bathtub pond. Goldenrod vinegar, comfrey oil, and drying sassafras roots in my cupboard.

Twenty years ago I was given the message, “You will have many homes…” What will the next one look like? And how will it look to the eyes of my heart to leave this one?

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10 Responses to OREGON, HO

  1. Erin says:

    Wow! I have also had a “sleeping gypsy” poking at me for the last few years. My son and I had a plan that we were going to bring to fruition this year; but he was killed in an auto accident 14 months ago and so I have been at a loss of how to go on this adventure now that I am all alone in this world at 70 years old. My ‘gypsy’ keeps poking me, but I keep shooing her away because I do not yet have the answers to “how” to make this happen. Hope you and Carter find the answer and means of finding your new home.

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Yikes! Erin! I’m so sorry! My personal experience is to just keep prodding the gypsy, and paths will begin opening for her. Where were you two heading off to?

  2. Carter says:

    In the last several years I have moved more times than I did in the previous 5+ decades. Bloomington, I told myself, would be the last move. I am always amazed how Mystery can be stirred to bring about a totally unexpected result.

  3. Erin says:

    Colorado was first choice – Durango; and Oregon was the other option.

  4. elayne tingey says:

    Funny how thing happen, I’ve loved Oregon, I lived there for a time. But I miss the green and that lovely Pacific Ocean.
    I too am a gypsy and I know that there will be another move. Every once in awhile Oregon comes to mind and heart.
    I’ve been feeling the loneliness for the Ocean and soon I will visit.

  5. kathey says:

    Hi Susan, I just returned home to Virginia from Central Oregon, a journey I have been making every summer since 2003. It is a magical state, where one can truly find aloneness and comfort in quiet. And such beauty like nowhere else. Making a transition from your beautiful wooded eden in Indiana will be hard, I imagine, yet in agreement with your son, being close to family is really important, and finding a place to share your later years with family close by sounds like the next step in your gypsy life. Good luck to you and Carter as you choose where to go, or “to be” happy and secure. I have really loved your recent postings. Thinking about Pepper again also brought tears. You bring these wonderful furry creatures into our awareness and create love in our hearts for them all. What a gift to us! Thank you so much.

  6. Oh, how lovely – all of us Oregonians will be waiting to welcome you back with open arms…and hearts!

  7. Joyce Howard says:

    I hope I’m one of the old friends you’re planning to call. I would so love to have you home again!

    • Susan McElroy says:

      Oh, yes, Joyce! We’re tentatively dreaming of a reunion of my Oregon buddies sometime during my visit! I’ll be seeking you out!

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