It’s been a while since I’ve written anything. You may or may not have noticed. Our landing in Zion turned out to be a pinch less than my romantic vision.
After a 2 day drive with just one detour in the last grueling hours, in which we were forced to take alternative roads such as “Rambo Road” and “Eldad Road”, letting us know in no uncertain terms that we were in the deep south, we arrived to our new home at the midnight hour. Exhausted but grateful to have the trip behind us, we emerged from the car in darkness to greet this new life.
We entered the small, 2 story wooden house taking in the familiar site of the spacious kitchen, which we had seen only in photos. Though at first we though the wobbliness we felt was from our long drive, we soon realized that the floors were uneven, with an incline going toward the east and north walls. We took a quick tour, and my heart sank as the wonkiness of the house was revealed to us room after room. The ceilings in the bedrooms are low and slanted and the staircase forces you to duck your head and make a 90 degree turn halfway up, which makes it impossible to get any furniture upstairs! The house looked cuter and much more spacious in pictures.
There were many ungraceful adjustments that needed to be made to our housing plans. There was no way to get our kingsize bed upstairs so I opted to use the smaller, darker, colder downstairs room as the bedroom for me and the littles.
Nehama had a small room upstairs and the larger room we made into a yoga/chill out/living room space. So with some flexing of our adaptation muscles we were able to fit in what we could and get rid or store what we couldn’t.
Big moves, like birth, are rarely easy and often underestimated.
Here we were in a land that was once familiar, but at a different time of year, in a hobbit home sitting in the middle of a forest and I have been feeling lost. When we arrived it was cold. And grey. And rainy and all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and hibernate.
Many well-meaning friends and community members came by to offer a hand or bring some freshly baked goods and welcome me, which was very sweet. But just as I experienced somewhat traumatic culture shock when I left The Farm at 10 years old and moved to Hollywood, Florida, I experienced a different kind of culture shock coming back that feels equally traumatic.
Namely the near absence of people of color. This had been the biggest reason I had not moved back before now. But when we came back late last year for a visit there was a Jamaican woman and her 3 daughters living here who we connected with and that made it feel a lot more inviting, even just with one family so that my girls could interact with other kids who look like them. I also thought living on the land would somehow make up for the lack of diversity. I figured a good dose of nature would bring our nervous systems back into balance. But I really underestimated how much I would miss my multicultural Miami community. It feels really strange to be in a monoculture, like a piece of humanity is missing. Because, well, it is.
Then there’s the boredom that sets in when you have a schedule that is practically non-existent, a sort of continuous void of time that was once full and overflowing. After years of living urbanely my body and mind are tuned to a different frequency and the slowness that I once craved now feels terrifying. If only I was tapped into my inspiration and creativity, I could fill this blank canvas with colors, shapes, dreams and visions. But instead all I want is to curl up in the fetal position for about 6 months. I’m sure this will shift with time, but for now hibernation is what calls me.
We have no doubt had some beautiful moments—hikes in the woods behind the house, sitting by the creekside sipping the sound of the bubbling waters with eyes closed, breathing in the clean, cool air. Nehama and I went to a full moon women’s circle around a fire a few nights after we arrived and enjoyed a sauna by the swimming hole last week. Slowly, I am reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. The night sky is magical as are the deer that grace our yard at dusk.
What I’ve come to realize is that moving in the middle of a pandemic is just hard. Connecting to a new community amidst social distancing and masking takes time. My expectations of returning to a sort of utopia were unrealistic. The 10 years I spent living here left a deep impression on me and the values I grew up with have informed my life in fundamental ways.
My memories of childhood were of roaming free through the land with tons of other kids, many of whom I lived with. But there’s a way we romanticize our childhood and coming back now as an adult has brought down the veil of idealism. So I am forced to forge a new, more adult relationship with this land and community of my birth. The idealistic visions of the founders of this community, once vibrant and alive, seem to have withered with age and the passage of time. The pandemic has wreaked it's havoc here as it has elsewhere and isolation has become the norm. But it is clear that the land is as radiant as ever and within the hearts of the people there is still a flicker that can be fanned into a flame with the right attention.
2020 has rocked all of our worlds, and I think my big lesson in this current situation is about resistance. Resisting what is because it’s not what I wanted or expected, has made this transition very challenging. Radical acceptance is like bitter medicine, effective but not easy to swallow. The metamorphosis going on inside all of us is not singular but feels rather like peeling off layers and layers of identity.
It is so deep that it feels both intercellular and interstellar.
Individual and collective.
We are being asked to learn to walk a path of uncertainty and nearly constant change. A path that requires openness, flexibility, patience, and loads of self-compassion.
Amidst all these changes, as mothers our plates went from full to overflowing. So I am here to remind you and myself to go slow, be kind to yourself, stay present, and never underestimate the value of rest.
Walk lightly and breathe deep mamas.