Monday, March 17, 2014

The Many Meanings of Moving

The avant-garde painter, poet and typographist Francis Picabia is said to have thought of this bonmot: "Our heads are round so that thinking can change direction", while John Maynard Keynes - when being accused during a heated argument with a high government official of being a bit inconstant with his opinions - replied: "Once the facts change, I must change my opinion. And what are you doing, Sir?"
A peaceful morning in the Lauragais country-side
Yes, it is perfectly acceptable and even advisable to change one's opinion if the facts change. A few years ago I realized that "eventually I will have to move closer to a larger city", and the "eventually" has become now. Moving - with all its meanings. In the languages I know "moving" always has several meanings. Changer l'adresse, déménager, changing, moving, umziehen, verziehen - the verbs denote change and, depending on your interpretation and mood, also hold a corcucopia, a corne d'abondance of options, beckons with new chances and experiences.
Japanese Ornamental Apple  (Malus Floribunda)
A move is moving in many ways. We consciously say good-bye to local friends we made and are not simply torn apart with no farewell. We say good-bye to things we learned to love or were the very reason we picked as our home so many years ago in the first place. Moving is the farewell to the environment we appreciated and became accustomed to. Moving is the realization that our friends will no longer be in the vicinity for a quick face-to-face visit. Consoling and moving in a different sense is the realization that the nightingale will keep on singing her song, that the barn owls will spread their wings and glide silently through the night, that the occasional deer will stilt elegantly through the high grass around the house, the red squirrels will chatter up in the 400 year old oak trees and the hoopoe family will raise their young ones in the same hollow tree as every year.
Sunrise in the Lauragais
We have to accept change or even trigger it ourselves because the facts changed.
So almost two years ago, I started packing and sorting, donating and giving things away, reducing decades of accumulations to a few cartons and just basic furniture. Accumulations, which were bestowed on me by grandparents, parents and friends - lovely books, linen, china, each holding special memories of family and friends. Despite all efforts, I found no home for 45 years of National Geographic Magazines, a complete collection from 1968 to 2010. I found no home for yellowed pocket books from the Sixties, which were so essential to me at that time, nor for almost all the other books of my library comprising more than 60 years of reading. 
Hoopoe guarding golden silk
I almost felt I betrayed the authors... Ralph Ellison, Rachel Carson, Nadine Gordimer, Gail Sheehy, Oliver La Farge, Mari Sandoz, Vine Deloria Jr., and James Welch, whose Winter in the Blood moved me to tears - but burning their books was less painful than throwing them into the container at the tip. I watched the smoke rising into the clear sky and thought of how their thoughts have changed and enriched my life and, in effect, that of my children, so their work lives on in the mind of many.
I parted with Leonard Cohen, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Pete Seeger and the very early Beatles. Parted with The Platters, Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Miriam Makeba, Floyd Red Crow Westerman. Van Cliburn and Glen Gould, playing Tchaikovsky and Bach. A record with Yevgeny Yevtushenko reading his powerful poem of Babiyy Yar. I am certain that my US friends of old would have appreciated these treasures, but of course, they hung on to their own copies as well, we were the sixties generation.
By http://cyberbrethren.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/sixties.jpg
The doors to a different setting are opening and I will see the positive and joyful options and remember gratefully the past - and I am glad I didn't miss a single day of appreciating what I have and had.
Occasionally though, I need to take my mind off from saying farewell - time to relax a bit and instead concentrate on something less emotional, knitting a lace pattern for example - just difficult enough to stay concentrated but allowing thoughts to ramble in between repeats - knitters know that phenomenon, how one's hands seem to memorize the rapport faster than one's brain! As most of my stash is already keeping precious antique books in their moving boxes safely cushioned against jolts, I quickly saved ArtYarns Beaded Silk Mohair from becoming stuffing material, treating myself to one of the most treasured yarns in my stash for making a lace cowl.
Flared Lace Smoke Ring Cowl with Art Yarn Beaded Silk Mohair
Flared Lace Smoke Ring Cowl with Art Yarn Beaded Silk Mohair
Art Yarns Beaded Silk Mohair
The cowl pattern is by Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, it is called Flared Lace Smoke Ring. The picture below is copyright Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer.

3 comments:

Lynn Ross said...

This made me cry, but in a nice way. I'm going through a similar process and you've given me courage to carry on ss

luvama70 said...

beautiful moving words. thank you!

Tracy Hudson said...

How difficult it must be to leave your Lauragais! I am grateful to have given a home to one of your many tender treasures. Wishing you strength in the newness.