The Awkwardness of What Matters

We are home. We have mostly worked through the inevitable fatigue and mental distortion of criss-crossing the planet and today we are busy and functional. Mostly.

Greece seduced us completely. It is a beautiful, kind, and gracious place and Patmos, the island of our residency, was all of those things, only more so.

The monastery - Patmos.
The monastery – Patmos.
Lunch, nearly every day.
Lunch, nearly every day.
The view, every morning.
The view, every morning.

And then there was the writing part. The part where Cheryl Strayed, Brian Lindstrom, Rachel DeWoskin, and Zayd Dohrn infused and inspired us with wit and wisdom about the practice of writing. I am in awe of them all.

So much awesomeness in one magnificent place.
So much awesomeness in one magnificent place.
Cheryl Strayed illuminates.
Cheryl Strayed illuminates.

This beautiful, amazing experience also proved to be one of the most people-intense activities I have undertaken in a long time. I used to be better at that, the showing up in structured environments; now, I am shockingly awkward at it. Five years of rural isolation in the deep, sweet company of animals will apparently do that and I am hopelessly addicted to what I have. So much so, it turns out, that two weeks is a near-lethal length of time for me to be away — away, not just a word of configuration for not being home, but also a word of configuration for not being at home, a burden that can be wickedly terrible to endure. I was away these two weeks in both senses of the word and the longer that “awayness” lasted, the thinner my own sense of presence seemed to become. If only I could have brought just one dog with me, just one horse! Oh, the awkwardness of what matters — sometimes it fits in the suitcase, sometimes it does not. Poor Gordy had to carry me all on his own. He should be relieved now we are home.

Home, although it is a bit hard to recognize. We had decided deconstruction work could start while we were gone, thinking it would get us to the end that much sooner; a pretty glib thing to believe on the flush side of our trip. On the bone weary, where do we belong, non-functional side, it is a gasp-out-loud, bug-your-eyes-out type of insanity.

I do not exaggerate.

The kitchen is gutted (the shelving and wall on the left are coming down — very loudly — as I write this) and the wall between the kitchen and what will be the family room is opened up.

The Kitchen Gutted
The space that was the kitchen.

All of the carpet and trim and interior doors have been pulled and the tile will be pounded out this week (again, with great loudness).

Living Room Deconstruction
Living room debris field.

The master bath is partially gutted — it won’t be complete, in my eyes, until the whole evilness of that wallpaper disappears.

Bathroom Deconstructed
There is still wallpaper, but no green tub and shower!

And where are we living? A temporary wall now separates the two back rooms from the rest of the house, about the size of a double-wide (and I use that phrase with the greatest kindness).

Where we live.
Where we live.

We are sequestered there — the two of us and five dogs — for the next 2 months or so. When the rest of the house is done, we will move over  and this space will be gutted and redone. For now, it is our rendition of home, the space we poured ourselves into at 12:30 in the morning after 26 hours of travel, the space where five dogs squealed and jumped and whimpered in delight at our return and where we all slept like sardines sandwiched atop a bed too small for so much togetherness. It may be awkward, but it’s what matters — to me.

Writing about what sings to me from a life made full with animals.

6 thoughts on “The Awkwardness of What Matters

  1. I am loving every word of the way, from the magnificent and rich blue of the sky and sea of Greece, to your welcome home greeting from those wonderful dogs— what a precious “family” they are! The reconstruction work is Wow! It is always exciting to watch the changes being made! Thank you for the sharing of your life there in Ocala!


  2. I have been waiting for this….patiently. I am leaving for only 6 days and fussing already. You are forever my mentor and so I found consolation ( before you even left) in the idea of your two weeks of leaving the animals. If Lisa can do it , I can do it. And so I have been waiting for your return and the answer is perfect and simple……it is awkward and it’s what matters to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! I did not do 2 weeks very well, but I bet I did the first 6 days pretty well. Holding space is such an amazing and hard skill to master. I know it matters. I know they feel it — our presence across time and space. Which means they probably feel me running out of oxygen out there….what grace that they hold the space waiting for me to return and revive. Miss you, friend!


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