This is not an easy post to write… which is why I have put it off as long as possible, though this will only make it seem more sudden. We are returning to New Mexico.
I realize there has been no warning; no allusions to doubts or difficulties. An experience is what you make of it, and we gave this one our best. When we moved here only five months ago, we did not think we would be going back. Yet, things can change, and here we find ourselves packing again.
The reason is mostly financial. We have a house, and certain responsiblities in New Mexico which we need to take care of. However, it has not been an easy decision. It nearly breaks my heart to not be here to see spring come, to watch the willows burst into green and the ice break up and float away down the river. It will not be easy to exchange our wild “back yard” of fields, trees, and river for the tiny one behind our house in the neat and proper little town of White Rock. I am sad when I think of the black soil under the white snow; my garden plot which will not be planted.
That we are leaving does not diminish our experience here at Graham and with the Smith family, who shared their time and their lives with us. How can you go through a northern winter together, and not come out closer on the other side? Our last few meals have been poignant, and we have lingered around the table, talking, till late. Allison staged one last theatrical dance with Lyra and Marley. Tonight, she built a “house” in the living room, and she and Alex crawled in there with the kids after supper and told spooky stories. We know Lyra and Marley will miss their big brothers and sisters. Nick will miss teaching kung fu to four energetic students, and though he would never admit it, I know he will miss his sessions with a certain yellow-handled maul in front of the woodshed.
We feel privileged to have had this time here, and though we wish it could have been longer, we leave with only good memories. Having more time together as a family, we have come to appreciate each other more. A recent letter from a friend in New Mexico expressed how I feel about our remote circumstances. “Really, this experience with your family and just daily living is an incredible time. You have none of the “clutter” (TV, American society, social pressures to do this or that) to distract you from what really means the most. You can really appreciate the simple and lovely parts of life. I know you have always done this, but being away from all of… this… just makes it easier.”
We were out walking today. I was lost in my own thoughts, and Marley looked up at me with such a sweet smile, and said, “Mommy, don’t you just love these kind of days?” To me, it wasn’t anything special, but Marley was just enjoying being outside, being a part of it all. They are so quick to point things out. They are the ones to notice the magpies outside on our stump bird feeders (the only birds we’ve managed to attract all winter). They are the ones to cry, “Look, the sky is on fire!” at sunset, or “Look at the tire tracks in the sky!” I realized recently, that they are repeating back to me things I’ve said to them since they were babies, “Look all around you at the world; isn’t it beautiful?” Here, though, you don’t have to look very hard to see beauty; it is all around.
We have so appreciated all the people whom we’ve met and who have shared with us this winter. It has been different living two hours from a grocery store, but that is not the reason I’ve bought so few groceries. I have not purchased a pound of meat all winter, yet we’ve had more than enough: pork(ham, bacon, sausage), lamb, elk, venison, beef, even grouse(a small wild game bird with dark meat). We’ve had potatoes, carrots, beets from a friend’s garden and apples from the Okanagan Valley in the root cellar all winter. My mom sent me home with bags of frozen wild berries each time we visited, and we’ve enjoyed those nearly every day. Our Russian neighbors down the road at the Maccabee community shared fresh milk and eggs with us each week. (I have missed good, dark leafy greens and fantasize about fresh rhubarb chard, or springtime baby leaves of lettuce, but soon enough.)
The children and I fly out of Fort St John on the morning of Sunday, February 1st. My brother booked us tickets on his airmiles to Seattle, and from there, we fly to Albuquerque. The kids are incredibly excited to be flying for the first time (that they remember). Nick is sorry to be missing this as he gets the enviable task of driving our belongings south for four days, accompanied by Zia and Mittens, the cat. The task of moving being so much more overwhelming with a newborn, we decided to do so before the baby’s arrival. I have already made an appointment with a midwife in Santa Fe, and am very much looking forward to having this baby at home.
I have so enjoyed taking the time to write, besides my journal, and would like to continue to do so, though it will take a different form. Something like “family living in Northern New Mexico”, and those of you who appreciate excursions into nature, gardening, homeschooling, and cooking (the wonderful, varied life of a mother) might enjoy the read. I’ll be sure to post a link on here when we get settled in again. Thanks for all your support and encouragement, every one of you.