If you’ve been reading my nightly posts over the past week, you know I’m in a whole new place about to begin a whole new job. My normal go-to introduction of reporting the weather seems a little foreign to me, living in a maritime climate. It has rained a lot this week–I’m in the Pacific Northwest. This rain is different than rain at home. It isn’t heavy, it doesn’t usually soak your clothes. In the course of an hour, it could go from rainy to overcast to sunny back to rainy again. Also, during my time so far, the temperature has almost exclusively been in the 50s, day or night. It’s something very new, which should be the theme in my life for the next few months.
Allyson was here until Saturday, and after we had rested, we were mostly hoping our belongings would arrive in enough time for her to get to help organize it in the house. The van finally pulled up the afternoon of Allyson’s last day. The earlier days of the week were spent exploring our little piece of the Oregon Coast. In the restaurant and the antique store we visited in nearby Garibaldi, the owners asked us where we were visiting from. It was fun to tell them we had moved here yesterday. Fun to hear those words come out of our mouths, “Actually, we just moved here.” It was just another reminder that this is now where we live.
We went to the grocery store for the first time, ate in our house for the first time, shopped at local stores for furniture to fill out the house. Each time we drive up and down highway 101 and I see the bay and the ocean and those mountains behind us, it becomes a little more familiar. I think about how this will become the familiar route home like other roads home in the past. How the Pacific Ocean will become so well-known to me, the sounds of the wind and the waves, the smell of salt and evergreens will come to tell me, “You’re back at your house, Troy.”
There is a fort of boxes in my living room right now, and my major goal is to have them shifted enough to fit our new coach in when it comes in early next week. Allyson and I had enough time to get the necessary stuff for the kitchen unpacked, to where I can eat like a semi-normal person, but we had to leave Friday evening for Portland, because she had a 6am flight on Saturday. We took Highway 6 back through the Tillamook State Forest as it got dark. The last time we did this, I had just accepted the job, and we were calling friends and family to let them know the news. This time, Allyson was going back to Murray to finish out her work there, and I would be staying, getting the place ready for her when she comes back. We went out to eat at the Old Salt Marketplace, the same place we ate on our last night in Portland a few months back.
The food was fantastic again, and as we discussed how we felt that first time. We talked about how we were stunned by the turn of events. How we had so quickly fell in love with this place and been offered a fantastic chance to live out here comfortably. How we had decided to accept it and move across the country. This time, our minds were still blown. We had driven across country, met our new home, and unloaded all our stuff into a new house. Here we were again feeling very much the same.
I wonder how long it will take for this feeling to wear off–this amazement that we get to call this ours. I look around at this, and feel so lucky, but lucky isn’t exactly the right word. I think about those moments when I worked camps at Lakeshore, and we got to the end of the week. I had just been through a powerful experience with a group of college staff and campers. We had grown close in ways that would be difficult to explain. We had seen things that would stay with us forever. I’d step out of onto the parking lot and walk towards the Conference Center, now empty, full of this feeling that was like a bunch of different things lumped together. I wanted everyone to know it, but I couldn’t explain it–the feeling was still too new. It felt like something I had done, something I had been a part of, but it wasn’t exactly mine. It wasn’t like I had been chosen or earned it either. It was just there, and I was there when I needed to be. I felt this humble feeling that I had been one that got to experience it. I wanted to just be still with that feeling a little longer.
We woke in a daze on Saturday with just enough time to drive to the airport from our motel. It was, of course, raining. We pulled up to the American Airlines concourse for departures, and got out of our rental car that we had driven from Murray to the Oregon Coast. I held Allyson tight, with that kind of hug where your arms almost come all the way back around to you. Allyson went into the terminal to catch her plane to Dallas on to Nashville. We both said several times those last few days how we wished she could stay longer. It’s natural to want things to be longer. We’ll look back on these two magical trips to Oregon, no doubt. There’ll come a time when, like at camp, it will be time to do something new, to write the next chapter. There is much still left to be done. We have much still in us. But, for now, I think we’ll both find ourselves frequently in these moments we pause to sit with our thoughts, because we don’t exactly know what to do with what we just experienced. We just want to stay with it a little longer and try to understand why it chose us, to marvel at what we are able to see.