Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Essential Life

My horse-farm-with-no-horses is still on the market but Barry’s house sold yesterday, accelerating our move. The new date for the trek to South Carolina? August 25th.

We’re both in hyper-mode packing, sorting, organizing our respective children for return to college and, in Marguerite’s case, preparing her for transfer to a new high school in Charleston. We’re also scrambling to stay on top of professional duties.

Today I’ll wrap up the Q&A for a blog then march into the basement for yet another session of Serious Sorting. There are boxes everywhere, towering stacks for the Salvation Army and the local Goodwill. Other stacks are destined for nieces and nephews, many of whom now have children of their own and could use more Christmas ornaments and dishes, another couch or children’s board games.

Wading through the stuff is painful, like a sudden viewing at a funeral or an unexpected visit to the museum of one’s life.
Gone are the dinners for forty relatives prepared with my sisters in my oversized kitchen. The parties, with guests spilling across the acres, are reduced to memory. Once I sat on the back deck critiquing with two other writers and a ferocious sound rose from the front of the house, startling them both. Recognizing the sound, I leapt up from the table and dashed into the pasture with my critique partners at my heels. A hot air balloon had touched down and the owner—glad we weren’t upset by the intrusion—gladly gave us a ride.

In many ways, I’m packing up the heartache from a long-ago divorce and setting a new course for my family. I’m paring down to the essentials and carrying to South Carolina only what I need: the promise that my three older children will soon join me in our new city, the odds and ends Barry and Marguerite will want for our new home. I’m bringing my computer and the vision of writing novels in a Charleston park surrounded by blooms. I dream of strolling the beach at sunset with Barry, and watching my youngest daughter hone her creative instincts in a city brimming with art.

What is an essential life? It’s different for all of us. Yet even with the differences, some items tucked into our pockets are the same. A photo or a letter—the evidence of love. An address or a phone number, to keep one connected with the people left behind. And dreams, surely, of new beginnings.


  1. In the spring is an awesome art festival called Piccolo Spoletto. Our Linux Users Group tried to sponsor our digital graffiti project, but we weren't quite organized enough to make the festival in time.

    Glad you'll be down here soon. We have our move dates penciled in. Week of October 25th, and off we go to snow and Connecticut.

  2. Elizabeth, you're leaving for CT so soon? Not fair!

    Well, Barry and I are driving down the last week of July to find a house to rent (don't want to buy until we've been in Charleston for a few months). Perhaps you and I can meet then?

  3. It's always a challenge what to take, what to throw away and then there's the fact that so much of what we have around us has meaning in that they are connected to some event/s in our lives.

  4. So true, J.L. In truth meaning and memory are carried in your heart, not in an item that may have lost its usefulness in your life.

    Thanks for sharing.