Ken and I have been discussing the things we will have shipped to our new home in VT. We sold or gave away much of our stuff to make the shift to Florida last August, I was astonished at how much it all seemed to seep out of the walls as I organized, cleaned, donated, prepared, wrapped or gave away. Now we are having that conversation again, this time with a focus on downsizing the downsizing.
The other day, without my knowing he was going to do it, Ken gave away my little red Honda lawn mower to the guy who cuts the grass at our rental home. I would have bartered with the guy to have gotten a couple of free mows in exchange but found out too late that Ken had already told Larry he could have it.
It is never wise to love stuff too much, I know that, but I confess it was hard to see it go. It was MY machine, we fit each other perfectly, it was never too fast or too slow, it never threatened to run me over when we struggled up and down the steep grade in the back yard near the prickly junipers. It cut grass while going forward or backward, was small and light enough for me to carve out protective grass rings around the volunteer wildflowers blooming in the yard every year: dandelions, purple violets, dog-tooth violets, pink stargrass. Our lawn in spring looked like a bad haircut.
The Honda was me in my most beloved place, outdoors, hours spent alone under the sky and the big oaks in our private back yard, creating long neat rows of shining green, back and forth, to and fro, rocking around tree trunks, skidding over moss. The Honda and I were a team, I felt oddly powerful when we finished the grass cutting for the week. Letting it go is saying goodbye, again, to the home I loved, to a life I cherished, but the time has come when life changes and it’s time to let things go.
This is the exciting part though, because this is a time to re-create myself, I get to try again, I get to push myself out there on a new stage, with a new audience, I get to bring the best parts of me and shuck the rest, though the latter is proving to be a bit difficult, it is true you really do show up wherever you are.
But what I have learned during these past nine months is this: Never give up. Be flexible in your expectations. Believe in your own resilience. Accept with open arms the help offered to you, it is an amazing and humbling gift, you can’t do this life alone. Then, give the gift back to the next one in need of help, that special help only you can give because of what you learn now. You’ve got to just keep going forward.
All this from giving away my lawn mower. I guess it had one more secret to tell.