Moving karma

Heading home

The busyness I referenced in my last entry continues but we have physically come to a halt in Tangent until February 29 when we head to Sisters, Oregon for The Closing. The Closing (the legal title transfer of our new house) has taken on the significance of a major international treaty in our tired minds and marks the end of waiting and the beginning of the next adventure. It's been 138 days since we moved out of our Monmouth house. We are ready to be home again.

Since our arrival in the US 23 days ago we have spent two or more nights on this itinerary: Portland, Oregon; Longview, Washington; Tangent, Oregon; Chico, California; Sisters, Oregon; Tangent, Portland, and back to Tangent, where our little 17-foot overstuffed Casita is our temporary home, thanks to the generosity and five acres of Joanne and Seaton, two wonderful, patient friends.

This peripatetic period is symptomatic of our married life. We are about to purchase our seventh house in our seventh town, not including our stays abroad and the at least seven apartments. Both of us hope this is our last major move, though I would never shut the door if the right offer came along. We are not alone in moving frequently but I suspect only a minority do so—as we have—voluntarily. Jennifer has called us gypsies and I'm inclined to agree but we never set out to do it this way. It's all been rather accidental.

Still, we wouldn't have done it differently. All these moves, both here and abroad, have allowed us to meet so many new people: co-workers and business associates, neighbors, passing acquaintances, sharers of common efforts and activities, friends of friends, fellow students, fellow campers, fellow travelers. We've met the rare and the common, the brilliant and simple, the boring and stimulating. All were gifts and (mostly) we enjoyed their company and companionship. Then we willingly moved on. Luckily, a few friends have stuck with us, repeatedly crossing out our old addresses and writing in new ones, though often complaining or questioning our sanity. They are widely scattered but they remain good friends despite the years and miles that separate us. It takes effort to keep friendships healthy across those distances, even with email, and we are grateful.

I confess I sometimes envy those who stayed behind. I envy their stability, their wider circle of friends, their long-held traditions. I envy their knowledge of their hometowns, the familiar faces in the shops, the cheerful waves from their neighbor's children's children. I envy, but I don't regret.

When I was a child I fantasized about keeping a logbook containing the names of every individual I met, even casually. I often lament not doing so and wonder how many notebooks I might have filled. Lots, I think.

It occurred to me the other evening, thinking about all the people we'd met, that maybe this was planned. Maybe this is a kind of karma round-up, giving us the chance to deal with issues from many past lives. Maybe we couldn't stay in one place because we owed something to all these disparate people. If that's the case I hope they're repaid because I want my next life to be a quiet one. Maybe some Buddhist monastery in the backwoods of Tibet or Bhutan will take me in. It's rather appealing, that idea of sitting still for a lifetime. But not yet, I think. Not yet.