So it’s taken me a few days (almost a week, my good woman) to figure out how to wrap up this Vermont caper. Excited plans for a woodworking project? Fulsome review of power tools available at Lowe’s? Mooey love letter to the state of Vermont and promise to join the “Bern Unit” (Bernie Sanders’s campaign)?
Enough pondering and procrastinating. I’m just going to let this rip, like an eight-foot board through a table saw.
When my husband saw me on the last day of the course, he told me that he’d seen “a new Charlotte, or maybe the real Charlotte.” My Carhartts were covered in sawdust, and I was thrilled to show him the tiny house and its babbly brook. He noted that I “was joyous and never apologized once.” (The customary call of the Furtive Short-legged Morford is, “Sorry, I’m sorry, I am so sorry.”) He said I was confident, independent, and full of hope and ideas.
The class ended with hugs and a nifty certificate confirming my completion of the course. As the hours brought us closer to departure, I wondered how I would keep that fierce, friendly soul that my husband was so delighted to find when he arrived.
The last time I’d taken myself away for a week was almost 30 years ago, a trip to Sanibel Island that began after a judge in the District of Columbia ended my first marriage. Going away after the divorce was an escape–but also a conscious choice to be alone with myself, since alone-time was what I seemed to have been determined to get.
I flew to Florida, rented a car, and deposited myself in a condo on the beach. Every day I read by the water, bounced in the waves, looked for nice shells, and ate alone on the condo balcony. I strung it with twinkle lights, drank wine, and ate shrimp.
Now I was decades older, somewhat softer (or a lot softer), but happier and more content. I was going home to a house I loved with a husband I adored and a crazy show-up dog and a crazier show-up cat. I could never have imagined, back on that twinkle-lit balcony, that I’d be sitting in Vermont with my feet in a brook and a book about joinery in my lap.
I’m fond of a poem called, “If My Glasses Were Better I Could See Where I’m Going” by Charles Wright. It reminds me that we actually do know where we’re going–sooner or later–and therefore to make the most of these few days that remain. To be the person I was on these trips. To stay humble by learning new things, and at the same time welcome my truest self. I hope you will want to do the same.
“As for me,
I’ll put on the pilgrim slippers some of these days
There, where all things are forgot.
Till then, I’ll see that the grass gets mowed.
Till then, I’ll check out the cloud’s drift, and the season’s drift,
And how the days move, one at a time,
always at night, and always in my direction.”