It’s been an interesting few days in my head and heart.
I’ve moved to Colorado for the winter. Or at least what feels like winter, it is after all, only half way through November. People asked me, “Why?” and, “Isn’t it cold there?”. “Yes”, I replied, “but it doesn’t usually stay too cold all winter. Plus, I wont be in the mountains so I’m not too worried about it.”
And to think, I was this close to getting rid of my feather bed!
To answer the questions:
Yes it is cold here. I’m on the eastern slope of the mountains and these mountains have a way of circulating ALL of the weather patterns and as randomly as possible. This means you can get sub-freezing, blizzard conditions one day and a clear and sunny seventy degrees within twenty-four hours. This really is not an exaggeration.
So when I was thinking that I could just park Vandalf anywhere and call it good for the winter, I was wrong!
The answer to “Why?” was what I’ve had to continue to remind myself the last few days. I am here to be with my son. His father lives here and up until this last summer, our custody agreement would have placed him living with me for this school year. However, that changed when I got this wild idea that I wanted to travel full-time. So my son now lives with his father and I am here, parked on the property, to be with him as much as I can for the winter.
Sounds great, in theory, until the temperature drops twenty degrees in one hour (in the early afternoon mind you). I prepared Vandalf as well as I could and was able to get most of the top half of the van to maintain a temperature of roughly forty-five degrees.
The floor has absolutely no insulation which plays a huge part in why the thing is so terribly inefficient for the cold. The pet’s water dish was frozen solid by morning despite the fact that it was a foot away from the space heater.
Vandalf has a beard of ice!
All of this cold threw me for a loop.
I have no problem wandering, not really having a “home”, sleeping wherever. As long as that’s the plan. But I have Vandalf set up as my space when I’m not traveling without it. The below freezing temps forced me to spend all of my waking time in the house, out of “my space”.
I’m already in a situation that I’m not quite sure of my place. Add the fact that I can’t even withdraw to my private space (comfortably) and I’m in a pretty uncomfortable situation.
The first day I woke up cranky and feeling stuck. What does all this cold mean for my entire winter?! I can roll with the fact that it wasn’t the plan but this affects the only space in the world in which I feel the most comfortable calling my own.
I don’t like being cranky. I’m generally an optimistic person and whenever I’m not feeling that way, it’s upsetting to me. It must be remedied.
I thought to myself, “Carrie, stuck is a state of mind. You can choose to feel stuck or you can use this as an opportunity to explore new ideas and work with what you have”.
This helped my attitude improve immensely. I actually had fun figuring out all the different ways to stay a few degrees warmer.
But cabin fever and not quite knowing your place can take its toll.
I’ve found myself feeling homesick. I can honestly tell you that I have absolutely no idea if I’ve ever actually felt homesick. I love to travel, I’ve never been unhappy to be gone but (almost) always glad to be back. That particular stretch of highway that curves though the beautifully green hills of south Whatcom county as you head north into Bellingham has always felt like coming home to me. On my last big road trip, for the first time ever, this stretch didn’t feel like home to me and I knew I was ready to go.
But now, I feel homesick. Mostly because I knew I had a place in my family, my community and my friends. Pepper the background with some holiday music and I’m aching.
Why not add some job hunting, tour booking and pre album recording preparation into the mix, oh ya and a wicked headache and no physical exercise. Consequently, last night my ability to handle any situation that was not completely even and normal, was less than zero.
Within a certain situation, I ended up behaving in a far less than graceful manner with my son’s father. After crying and sharing with my soon-to-be seventeen year old son, the basics of why I was feeling so crummy all day, we ended up having an amazing conversation about stress management among other things (that he brought up!). I then had a chance to vent with a dear friend and then slept on it.
I slept on all of it under the sweltering warmth of my four-inch thick feather bed.
Sometimes, I’m actually doing worse than I think I am. I can feel the build. I could sense that I was cranky the other morning. I thought I was ok.
But there was a deeper issue lingering. That one of not knowing where I belong.
It is one of our most basic instincts for survival to belong. We often go to great lengths to belong when we don’t.
Part of why I wanted to travel was to challenge my idea of belonging. Do I need a space to belong? Do I need people to belong? What does belong actually mean to me? Do I belong with myself?
But not belonging in some ways makes me feel terribly insecure. If I don’t know my place, I kind of don’t know what to do. I feel stuck, frozen, homesick for being a part of.
I still don’t know my place but at least I know that. And that gives me some ground to stand on.
Today it warmed up just a smidgen (yes, I said smidgen) above freezing.
I woke up with a new understanding of myself and the place in which I am currently dwelling.
I apologized to my son’s father for my behavior.
I made a hot cup of coffee and stood on the deck at 9am in fifteen degree weather and took in the fresh, still, crisp air. The world felt warm to me. I watched the birds, the neighbor’s cows, listened to the distant highway, admired the snow-capped hills in the distance, how the icicles formed off the edge of the roof as the snow melted and then watched them fall. It was beautiful. I felt good.
I don’t know what’s in store for me for this winter, I really have no idea whatsoever and I’m ok with that. I have hope in myself and faith in the universe to provide me exactly what I need when I need it and to bestow it on the regular.
Today that gift was warmth and a brighter light in which to discover who I am.
What I’ve been listening to: Lullaby by Dark Mean