As mentioned earlier this spring in This Blogger is Moving, we recently relocated from the northeast to the southwest (for tips on how to move your homeschool, check out my March article over at The Homeschool Post, Season of Change and my April post, Like Starting Over).
In earlier times, I rarely shied away from an adventure or change of scenery. As we grow older, however, we become more grounded and when we have children that seems to root us even more to terra firma.
We spent seven years on the east coast. Seven years building a life, much of which revolved around our homeschool community and for me, personally, co-founding Mosaic Freeschool. Those seven years brought change, challenge, growth and lots of good times. It has been difficult to pick up and leave it all behind.
So, how do you re-build everything you associate with a home? This question has come to me in its various forms several times over the last few weeks. I certainly have started over before -- but this time seems different, daunting even. Since we are in "the country" (the wildflowers obliged us by blooming the week we arrived) I've had the pleasure of watching a family of barn swallows (which are surprisingly lovely birds) build a nest from scratch. They somehow got side-tracked (as the barn is several feet away from the house) and opted to place their nest strategically on the underside of the terrace roof.
The nest began as a barely recognizable splatter of grass and mud. It wasn't clear what they were doing at first, flying to the same spot over and over again, perched at a seemingly impossible angle -- with their feet clinging vertically to the side of a brick wall.
Over the course of several days it became obvious that the mud splatters and bits of grass were the framework of a much larger structure -- a nest.
What especially struck me as the hours and days wore on was the persistence of the builder. The bird would bring one tiny piece of straw at a time and weave it into the nest with its beak. Looking at the nest, you can easily guess the number of trips back and forth were probably in the hundreds. But the bird never wavered, driven by the biological imperative, it continued to bring bit after bit of building material into its home -- straw, grass, mud, white feathers of unknown origin.
And so it is with us. The task seems impossible, like it will take forever. How can it be done again? But it can, and it is also our biological imperative -- to re-build, to begin again, to piece back our homes and lives one straw at a time. Before we are aware, before we can even count the days and weeks properly, we have created another experience whose permanency may also be in doubt. I saw this quote recently and it reminded me about the necessity of beginnings and endings:
"Everything that has a beginning, has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well."
A few days ago I thought the bird had finished the nest and it might be time to lay some eggs and get on with the business of sitting on them, but I was wrong -- there was a lot more work to be done.
Only she knows when she's done. I guess we'll have to be patient. It's ok, I've got time, I'm making my peace.