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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