Incredibly, a year has passed since we moved here last July. A year of joy, fortitude, and tears. No small amount of disarray. A messy year.
As all beginnings should, our first summer here felt light and enchanted, full of high hopes and visions of the future. Our days were bike rides and seashore adventures and ferries. We'd tumble home at sundown, salty and sandy and happy as clams.
And oh, clams! I could eat these dainty bivalves by the dozen, now. Steamed, please, and served with a lemon-butter dipping sauce.
I tried oysters for the first time last summer, too, fumbling as I learned to pry open their shells, exposing their salty flesh. I prefer them prepared simply. Raw, with the slightest drizzle of shallot vinegar.
Last summer was bewitching.
But as much as I wanted a flicker in time to last, the grace of seasons is in their transformation.
If only I had internalized that life lesson by now, autumn and winter might not have deflated my high quite so dramatically. But as T began working long days and I worked nights, I found more of my inner demons surfacing. Unfinished business with myself. But isn't that what winter is about? This year, I'll do my best to approach the season with self-reflection and energy conservation. Let's call it purposeful dormancy.
With spring came sunflowers and radishes, new friends, and an ocean warm enough to welcome us again.
We've grown closer with our neighbors, next-door and down the road a bit. A motley bunch, but we take care of each other in the little ways a community can. Warnings of high tide flooding possibilities whispered door-to-door; a loaf of fresh bread traded for a road-side stand watermelon; enough bikes in tandem to rule a shore-lined back-road: these are the ways we are lucky. The ways a community becomes strong.
And then there was that day on a mountain top, when we were visiting our old stomping grounds, where T asked me to marry him. The whole scene was madly romantic, with the sweeping views, my complete shock and euphoria, the family ring he reset with an emerald that had been tucked away in his sock drawer, and our family on both sides awaiting the news of my (obvious) "yes".
But to me, the most tremendous part of it all is that, momentary speechlessness on my part aside, it felt like the most natural day in the world. Just as unmistakably right as our first date.
I think the truth is that we all need each other in more ways than we know.
For me, it's enticing to uproot. But it's humbling to grow a foundation in new surroundings. At least, I've always been excitable in that way. I'm a strong starter. I seek change, but I'm apt to falter somewhere in the middle of the journey. At some point, it's challenging to keep the end goal clear in my mind. Can't see the forest for the trees and all that.
But one of the reasons T and I work is our alchemy. Where I'm inclined to waver, he's strong and stable, and vice versa. I think that's true of communities, too. If we're all willing to bring a little something to the table while forgiving each other (and ourselves) for our faults, a harmony can exist that we can't reach as individuals.
Life's a great balancing act, but I'm entirely grateful summer has wended its way around again.