I am home.
I am listening to YoYo Ma play Bach’s cello suites.
I am sitting in a sea of gratitude, knowing that Tropical Storm Lee spit his fury on my brother’s house and sent a huge tree onto their PT Cruiser and through their bedroom. And they were not injured – not even home for the chaos. Spared, and safe. And I am grateful.
And I am at the cusp of an unblemished moment.
Tomorrow begins a new school year. As a teacher, I love this time of year. More so than January, this is a time of new beginnings. Fresh pencils, brand new socks and a chance to begin anew.
Three of my five kids return to school in the morning. My middle child begins her senior year. Something tells me this one is going to be hard. I foresee a lot of tears. Not because of her, but because of me, learning to let her go.
For six more years, I will do this. Buy notebook paper and binders and backpacks and make sure there is Lunch Food (which is very different from Real Food) in the house. Six more Septembers.
I cannot envision what my life might be like seven Septembers from now. But we’ll get there, won’t we?
The kids return to school and I return to work at PCC, after a restful and restorative three weeks away. It’s been a great, refreshing time. Most of all, I have found myself. Most of all, I want to learn to keep track of myself during the normal course of time so that I keep from inching so close to the edge.
We ended August with a whirlwind road trip, just the husband and I. We headed to Winchester and had our first Bed & Breakfast experience in an amazing work of restoration. We stayed at the Nancy Shepherd House, and unbeknownst to us until we checked in and began to chat, the innkeeper is a musician of some renown. David and Tony had musician friends in common and it was the most beautiful of coincidences to realize how very small the world can be. We listened to David play banjo, had a cold drink and some great conversation and enjoyed a wonderful night’s rest. I can’t recommend this place strongly enough; I don’t know if all B&B experiences are like this, but ours was wonderful.
We went on to Cleveland to say hello to Tony’s parents and bring home the newest member of the family. It was a wonderful visit, if a little quick. We managed to have some time for conversation with everybody, loaded up Satchel II, made it to Mitchell’s for some amazing, hands-down-best-in-the-world ice cream and slept. Then we crawled out of bed early this morning and headed south. After a very quick stop in Harrisonburg to hug Shannon, we managed to make it back home in time to prepare for everybody’s first day of the rest of our lives.
This marks the end of many things, but with endings come beginnings. It is the nature of things.
The bones of the Nancy Shepherd House date back to the 18th century. Over 300 years have passed since it began its existence. Time has changed much of the house and its surroundings. Chimneys and stairs were walled up, floors were covered up. Many of the changes failed to endure; the house ended up in disrepair.
But the bones were good and sturdy and strong, and with enough time and focus, restoration brought out the beauty within.
I think maybe nothing ever really goes away completely. Things change, and some parts of all things and all people live on in some way. In us, in a foundation, in the huge piece of chestnut from a once proud tree that was part of Fort Loudon and then part of a small inn in Winchester. That bears the touch of us here, today, in the turning into fall of 2011. In a daughter full of show tunes who begins her final year of high school with determination and a challenging schedule. In family, strength and intelligence and character passed on from a father to a son.
I am getting close to a vapid, new-age sort of proclamation of goodness and light. I am tired. I will stop now and end this post with this best wishes to all for a wonderful beginning tomorrow. And a prayer of gratitude for the safety of my brother and his family.
And to all, a good night.