Two transitions are underway: the seasonal one from winter to spring is universally experienced in our temperate midwest climate, whereas my recent change of homes is an experience unique to each person, though obviously sharing elements in common with all others who have moved.
When winter in Minnesota inexorably bears down upon the land in November, we face the inevitable reality of successive snow storms, immobilizing sub-freezing temperatures and long, cold nights through at least early March. Many cliches apply to this prospect, especially for older people, such as go into hibernation, grin and bear it and settle in for the long haul. But "hope does spring eternal" and as the poet wrote, "If winter comes, can spring be far behind." As February progresses, one senses this annual seige is almost over, confident in knowing that any storm or cold spell will quickly give way to warm spring breezes. The plants wintered in the sunroom can soon be moved outdoors, and the deck furniture can be cleaned in preparation for relaxing once again in the invigorating outdoor air and sun's warmth. It's a time of renewal and rebirth.
The transition in homes began last fall when my adult son and I decided to move rather than remodel a home we had lived in for 26 years. [My wife passed away three years ago] This house (Risewood), nestled under towering oak trees at the end of a quiet circle, I will always remember as "home" during the greater part of my adult life, just as I will equally treasure the farm home of my youth. Both are memorable for the many family occasions shared together at times of joy and sorrow. I remember vividly the final fleeting glance of my farm home at my last departure many years ago, just as I am trying to prepare myself emotionally for taking my last walk through my Risewood home. I will treasure these images and revel in them to the end of consciousness.
In preparation for moving, I had to carefully sort through many personal items stored in drawers, closets, shelves and boxes, including possessions I was unaware of that my wife had saved from earlier years. Most emotionally moving were the scrapbooks she had assembled from her nursing school years and graduation (before we had met), our wedding and our son's birth showers. For each she had carefully saved and put together neatly on pages ALL the documents, pictures and cards. In David's (our son) scrapbook, she had completed a needlework cloth with colorful designs and the message: "Any man can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy." Upon seeing that for the first time, I broke down into tears. Knowing my many shortcomings, I worry the message may have been more a hope than a reality. But overriding all other emotions, I was in complete awe of my wife: To think that, considering how busy she was after David's birth with caring for him and maintaining our home, she had sat for HOURS doing this needlework and organizing the scrapbook!! I'm sure she probably worked on it periodically when David took his daily naps rather than she herself taking a much deserved rest. Such devotion and commitment overwhelm me emotionally.
Given such treasures that I would never even consider discarding, packing up and moving all these possessions was a Herculean task that is finally almost fully completed after several months of working on it off and on. Risewood, now empty, with freshly painted walls and newly installed carpeting, has just been sold to a young Iowa couple with two boys beginning a new suburban life together in Minnesota, while David and I have settled in our new home on a high hillside (Highview Terrace) overlooking at some distance the Minnesota River, the international airport and tall downtown skyscrapers. It's quite a change with a new perspective or "prospect" in the sense of the poet's prospect overlooking the playing field of Eton boys who in their fleeting innocence "seize a fearful joy" but the memories of Risewood and my wife are ever present with me as the morning sunlight bathes the distant skyscrapers in a golden glow.
Causes Brenden Allen Supports