We have relocated back to Vermont!
This has been a very interesting experience, going back. When I left, I was angry. I felt like I had been driven out with the cost of living, solar panels going up all around us (a neighbor had a huge field of them go up on two sides of her property, and there wasn't a thing she or the town could do about it.) I was upset about the cost of college for my kids, and the thought that there was nothing they'd be able to do for work here. When given a second chance to rethink our relocation to NC at the last minute, we wavered, but in the end we decided it was the right thing to do to leave VT. I was convinced I was never going back.
I think a lot of my anger stemmed from the fact that when we first moved here, we thought that was it! Vermont was where we would retire, and everything would be wonderful! It wasn't - there were some negative/strange interactions that I let affect me, lots of hitches and snags (although, surmountable, had I tried harder), and in the end I think I just felt betrayed that I had to leave for my kids' future, when I thought I would be staying forever.
Life's lessons come in some funny forms. This one for me was a pretty big lesson. North Carolina was the biggest mistake we ever made. I won't go into the why's and what happened, because most of it is intensely personal. I think it's enough to say that it was life changing, and perspective altering. Your priorities shift on some major levels when things get really, really bad.
The opportunity came up for us to move back, and we realized how much we actually wanted to. On some level, I was aware that it was likely we were yearning for the life we had before some truly horrible things happened to us... and that's delusional, because you don't get to go backwards. I look back now, and realize that we really did love the land and we should have tried to find other solutions. Some things have also shifted and it turns out that what my children want to do IS supported here; there is a real path forward. Some things haven't shifted, but we have solutions now. Being aware of all of that, we were able to make the decision in a balanced way, and we chose to go home.
I thought I would have to eat a lot of crow, having left in such a huff. But do you know, the only person who snapped back at me is someone who isn't even from Vermont at all? Instead, the people here welcomed me back with warmth and caring - leaving me practically tearful with gratitude. We were lucky enough to move back to our same town, which wasn't something we even tried to do (in VT, that's pretty tricky because the housing market is not such that you pick the town you want to live in, but rather that you look for a house that will work and THEN discover what town you will be living in.) That means the community we left is still mostly here, and that has been a huge blessing.
We have gone from a shiny "perfect" house in NC, to a house that needs a LOT of work - the kitchen is from the 1980's and my son cracked me up when he confessed to being afraid to use the oven because it's all dials and the only way to tell the temperature is an actual gauge you set inside on the rack (yeah, the kitchen is on our renovate list first, right after replacing the 25 year old boiler that's making really scary sounds right now!) But a big, shiny, perfect house doesn't mean anything if it doesn't feel like home. When I got here, I felt like I could breath after three years of holding my breath. I never relaxed in NC, but I did here, even in the midst of a crazy move.
|My new backyard is about 100 acres, and this is the view from my new studio (it has a little balcony) and this is my husband (just celebrated our 23rd anniversary!) who is also thrilled beyond belief to be back|
|sunset, in our backyard a week ago|
They're total snuggle-bugs, small kittens (especially compared to Socrates who is about 10 times their size) and they also like watching Disney movies.
|Merlin and Stratus, snuggled up with me|
I think I only have two new paintings to share, even though so much time has passed since I last wrote. The first is a painting that is currently on the Liberty Orchard's Halloween box!
|"Halloween Kittens" 9x12 inches, acrylic on canvas, sold|
|The ad from Liberty Orchards|
The next painting is the second in my Favorite Things series:
|"Georgette" 6x8 inches, acrylic on canvas, available|
I have my kitchen unpacked, and my studio completely unpacked. That's it. The rest of the house is in complete disarray. I'll get there with the rest of the house, but I am ready to start painting again.
I tried working on an in-progress piece - but I feel out of sync. So, I think like after not exercising for a while, I need to warm up and do some smaller, faster work to get back into my groove. I'm going to try to do daily paintings again, at least for a little while, to break in my new studio area! Hopefully, I'll have a lot more to share, and check in more often!
Things may still be hard right now, but there is light. There is positivity. I didn't expect any of these turns, and I'm as surprised as anyone else that this is where I sit tonight... but I'm oh, so glad that this is where I am. Home.