It's not a marketing effort

We are moving. Five and a half years we have lived in this house. I read somewhere that we fit precisely the national average. That peeling paint on the splotchy kitchen wall suddenly becomes intolerable - a Priority Project. It is the last major item on our list, though there are dozens more that we might well address. We ask each other how we have looked at it all this time.

It's not that we've been inactive. The house has gone through some major renovation. So has our family. We have welcomed three children into our lives here.

Ah, family. That is the explanation for the fact that Priority Project work like painting takes place between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Two minutes of passive watching by the five-year-old and the almost-four results in yellow footprints across the linoleum (all left foot, children's Size 7), and two somewhat symmetrical ovals of yellow on the seat of the red pajamas.

Why yellow? Perhaps because it was the predominant color on the splotchy patchwork walls, we always assumed it should have claim. I hear that it is a cheerful color. My husband joshes (half hopefully!) that it is reputed to encourage speed in meal preparation.

These working times are good times. I believe we work more easily than we play, and the problem-solving draws us together.

I kneel on the counter sanding and scraping the windowsills. Although the house has not yet been sold, I like to think this is not a marketing effort but a gift to the new owners. And that somewhere, 3,500 miles away, our new home is being as lovingly prepared for us. It does not matter that we do not know the whos or wheres.

My aunt has commented that when the new owners come they will bring their home into this structure of house, just as we will remove our home to its new location. I do feel that is true. Home is the contentment which, when we hold it in thought, embraces us outwardly. We will have it wherever we are.

Cherished friends too will be more firmly established in our thoughts, not in monolithic memories and rigid opinions, but flexibly in treasured qualities to allow for their naturally expanding ideals and horizons.

In the living room, the fish cruise imperturbably around their tank. The location of the aquarium will soon change (moving to a friend's house nearby), but the fish will clearly carry their home with them. Will they even notice a change?

I must remember how imperturbably we too may continue to move within our sense of home.

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