At Hand

The first full day in the new house unfolded in an almost orchestrated way, as if designed to reinforce a message delivered the day before: friends know the right time to appear, delivering comfort and brushing away stress. The two of us unloaded and unpacked boxes and we moved more belongings that we did not ask the movers to move, even though the previous day’s exhaustion had not dissipated. The pressures of the move continued to build, with little opportunity to relieve that mounting tension. Until good friends checked in with us, late in the day. And then came to our rescue. They visited, with relaxing conversation—and bearing an assortment of good things to eat and drink. As I sat there, feeling the stress drain from me, I thought of a Joe Cocker tune: With a Little Help from My Friends. Friends—who were there for us on the day of the move and the day after, both physically and in spirit—matter. Quite a lot, in fact.


Today, it will be more of the same. And a trip or two to the landfill to discard stuff that should have been abandoned long ago. And lugging still more stuff to the new house. It will get sorted out, eventually. In the meantime, though, it will look like chaos, but it will be peaceful chaos. When the electrician has come and gone, when we get the washer and dryer properly hooked up, when we reconfigure the laundry room to accommodate the second refrigerator, when we get towel bars and toilet paper holders and such on the walls, when the pictures are hung, when the boxes have been emptied and new shelves have been readied to accept boxes of books and the items from my long-stored collection are properly displayed…then we’ll have made a big dent in the to-do list, the list that seems to have been growing since the beginning of time.


The day looks grey, so far, a prelude to haze and heat. Tomorrow’s forecast includes the possibility of strong thunderstorms. Today is the day, then, to empty the old house and to get the discards to the landfill. Quite the task. It’s hard to think about such stuff, distracted as I am by the birds dropping in on the feeder just outside my study window. But think about them I must. So, it’s off to prepare for the tasks at hand.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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