Monday, February 23, 2009

A Waxing Moon in Rabbit Season

In case you didn't know, I made it to Maine. I'm all settled in at the Godins' and working on figuring out job and other stuff. Things are going very well. I'm quickly making friends and gaining clear vision on my purpose for this season of life. I don't think I ever mentioned that I sprained (or something similar... I didn't go to the doctor) my knee about 6 weeks ago. Before you get too concerned, it's doing much better now. See, I just saved you weeks of worrying. I'm rehabbing it right now by riding my bicycle on my trainer down in the basement. I've been doing this and that around town and running into all kinds of people, including some pretty interesting neighbors, which brings me to a couple amusing anecdotes from this morning...

It snowed a good 6 or 7 inches last night, and it wasn't your run of the mill powder. No, it was the thick and nasty kind; the kind of snow you don't want to leave lying around for fear it will turn into cold, heavy concrete. I woke at 7:15 this morning to my alarm, the snow blower cranking up right outside my bedroom window, and suited up for shoveling. After clearing the driveway enough for Debbie to get out to go to work, we headed down the street to make our daily rounds. Second on the list was one of the aforementioned neighbors, Dennis (Not to be confused with the guy I live with, Dennis, or his youngest son, Dennis, Jr., who is off in NY in college). I don't know much of this guy's story, but I do know that he broke his arm last week and came over to ask us to clear his driveway for him. I think it's also relevant to what I'm about to tell you to mention he has a large round nose, a thick New England accent (they don't really say r's unless it's to add an extra 'r' after an 'a'. "Park the car, Brenda" becomes "Pahk the cah, Brender") and speaks slowly. Back to the story. Dennis got going with the snow blower while Joey and I started shoveling out around the deck. Everything was going according to plan until I heard a crunch-crunch-crunch behind me and saw brown chunks of something shooting out of the snow blower. We all stopped to see what we just destroyed. What we found was the remains of a decorative porcelain porch bunny. Neighbor Dennis let out a bellowing, rapid fire "huh-huh-huh-huh" laugh and blurted out, "Dennis is a wabbit killa!" I busted out laughing, and so he just repeated it again and again. "He's a wabbit killa! A wabbit killa!" (Go ahead and say it out loud.) I don't think he could have done a better Elmer Fudd impression if he was actually trying.

We did a couple more driveways before we made it to our last one where Bob and his wife live. Now Bob is quite an interesting guy. He's a Vietnam vet in his seventies and spent time in France as a translator for doctors. A few days ago, Bob took a spill on his front steps (wearing house slippers on ice is not a good idea) and bruised his back pretty badly. He saw me shoveling by the front door, so he peeked out to talk a bit. He was finely attired in an undershirt and boxers... of course his fly was open. I asked him how he was doing, and he gave me a full account of how he had hurt himself on the front steps last week. Well, as you may or may not know, no story about an injury is complete without showing off the scar or wound received from said event. So Bob starts to turn around and pull up his shirt while trying to hold the screen door open at the same time. He realizes that's not going to work, so he locks the door closer in place as to have free use of both hands. Both hands. That's when I realized what was about to happen. As he goes for his shirt with his left hand and his boxers with his right hand, I think to myself, "Am I really about to get mooned by an old man? Surely not. I'm practically a complete stranger. Surely, he wouldn't do.." And then it happened. I couldn't look away as the 72 year old, wrinkly, white, black, blue, green and purple behind was unveiled in all its glory before my unsuspecting eyes. He held his pose to make sure I got a good look, and all I could do was say, "Oh ya, that's bad". The conversation/exposition died pretty quickly after that, and I got right back to shoveling. Oh the joys of neighbors.

Monday, February 2, 2009

En Route

I'm in Chicago right now slowly making my way to Maine. I first began my journey up north on Tuesday last week, only to have my attempt blocked. I knew the weather was calling for icy roads, but I wanted to try anyways. I made it a good 75 or 80 miles before I started to fishtail as I went over bridges. As I was coming to the TX/OK border, I saw a flashing sign saying that I-35 was closed ahead. So, I turned around after 90 miles and slip-slided my way back to Arlington. Nearly every overpass I went over for the next 15 or 20 miles, there was a car spun out that had hit the wall or went into the grass. I made it back without any mishaps, but it was obvious I would be waiting a couple days before I made another attempt. I woke up early again the next morning on the off chance the roads had cleared up, but all the news people were freaking out and talking to the audience like they were concerned parents. Finally, on Thursday morning, the roads cleared up sufficiently for me to go. I drove 10 hours through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska before coming to my first stop, Council Bluffs, IA. I got to spend the evening with the Smiths who I was staying with that night. I enjoyed some good times playing with the kiddos, eating dinner and then going to downtown Omaha.

The next morning, I headed out around 8 after saying goodbyes and made my way across the entirety of Iowa and into Illinois until I reached my second destination, Chicago. I've enjoyed spending some good quality time with Mark, Katrina and Candice which has included good food, gallons of hot tea, and various excursions into the city. I was planning on leaving tomorrow morning, but it looks like it will be snowing across the U.S. between here and Maine for the next 2 days. So, my plan (for the moment) is to stick around a couple more days and leave for Bouckville, NY early, early Thursday morning. I'll be staying with Anne, my friend (from Alaska) Adam's mom and then drive the final leg to Sanford, ME Friday. I'm finding that driving 2000+ miles in the middle of winter is a little tricky, so I'm being patient and enjoying each opportunity I get for rest, quality time and productivity. I'm itching to begin my next season of life in Maine, but I'm not at all bitter I'm getting to spend time with good friends in the meantime.

I'm starting to get used to starting life practically from scratch over and over again. It's both exciting and tiresome. There's new freedom and discovery to be had, but a lot of patience and self discipline needed at the same time. Thankfully, that is the fruit of God's Spirit in us. I'm continually asking God if this pattern is what I should be expecting for the rest of my life. The answer seems to be 'yes' or at least 'for a while'. I'm okay with that, but with each move, I value the things I leave behind more and more. Still, I find so much freedom and power in letting go of what makes sense to my natural self and obediently walking with God. I am confident in God's transforming presence, knowing I am becoming a strong and loving man. I have only the faintest clue of what my new life will be like in Maine, but I know that surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. That's all I need to know for now.