MAYBE I’LL BE A TURTLE

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"Good gas mileage. Fully self-contained!"

Carter and I are in the planning stages of a move to Oregon. Yes, we have gone from a pondering stage to a planning stage. That means, we both have been wearing the idea of this move on our shoulders for months now, and we both have come to like the fit of it very much. “What if” has morphed into “When and how.”

One scenario that has been surfacing again and again in my thinking is that we might need an interim step between here and there. Between, that is, one family abode and another. We own a house “here.” We need to sell it and have money in our pockets to do a purchase “there.” Our kids will be joining us in the Portland area. We will need the flexibility with money and time to find the perfect place that can house us all happily…

Rent, our friend and family are telling us. Don’t commit to anything right away. But to rent means moving all our stuff from this place to another place, and then, finally—down the road a ways—to yet another place. Have I mentioned that I can no longer count the times I’ve moved all my @^$*&@^$ stuff from one place to another place? Have I mentioned just how much I dislike (a mild word for it) boxing, hauling, and unboxing?

I’ve begun calling on Turtle medicine lately to show me a fresh alternative. Shells are appearing in my mind. Not the bone and carapace kind, but the fiberglass and aluminum kind. Why not become as Turtle, carrying “home” with us wherever we go? How might it be to slip into a shell of engine and casing and motorhome it for awhile? The idea is intriguing and scary at the same time. Intriguing because of its wonderful flexibility (Gee, let’s go off to the coast for a weekend), and scary because I can’t yet imagine life in such a smaller space.

Years ago, I lived on a sailboat. She was 55 feet long, carting us across oceans, and rocking us safely in ports of call. I was a sea turtle in those days, lean and lively. I’m an old landlubber these days, with lots and lots of stuff that I need to make proper home: Big TV for Carter; big kitchen to handle the stock pots and kraut crocks and bread bowls. Big bathroom where I can soak my cares away. Big closets filled with anything and everything I might need should any emergency come along. A room of her own for Cookie, the possum. A room of my own for meditating and pondering and planning. A man cave for Carter. We take up lots of living space these days.

So, I ask Turtle, would a massive scale down in our lifestyle be a refreshing blessing, or a cramped horror? Before I went to sea, a sailor told me, “Better like your sailing partners, because you’ll be smelling their farts a lot.” He was right. Literally and figuratively.

I’ve been asking you to send prayers for the New Moon Pipe Ceremonies for the past few months. I can’t tell you how many of you have asked for prayers for guidance to the right place, the right new home for yourselves and your families. Many of us are on the move. Maybe the right “home” for now is one we carry on our backs? Maybe becoming as Turtle—with a little bit of gypsy thrown in for good measure—is an opportunity some of us might explore.

I am. Craigslist is full of “shells” for sale. I’m especially drawn to those “Minne Winnies.” How about meeting me for a weekend on the coast next summer?

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