Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Turning Wheels of Turmoil: A Short Essay or What's on My Mind Lately





Quality of Life

These dictate our "where" of living out our days. They, of late, are consuming my every waking and sleeping thought (I dreamt we lived on a space big enough to own several pigs--and I don't even like pork, really). Don't patronize me with the notion that "happiness eclipses place", that it can be found--or rather made-- "anywhere".

I know this.

But (and there will always be a "but" as long as there is a blog--and even after there isn't), I have always felt a huge sense of place. Huge. Everything from how the air feels when I go out first thing, before even a sip of water, and breathe it in, to the way the earth around me accepts the seasons.

I was born in California and only lived out the first few blinks of life there when we moved to New Mexico (this is where I will always be from because this is where I first recognized myself and my place in the world), then onto Utah where the Grandparents would no longer be a 12 hour drive full of fruit snacks, beef jerky, and orange sections handed back in a tissue. We would be close to family. This place got me through high school and college, then the itching began: my first call out of the desert after two semesters. I quieted those voices with a summer in Ireland and some quick visits to small and large towns in Europe. I returned then risked two years of my own "place" to help others find theirs in Russia--where the earth didn't seem to accept the seasons at all and the air always felt a bit chilly, even in dusty summer. Returning meant a shock of love and migration to the deep South where Louisiana eased her way into my heart. Phoenix, next, has balanced our time in the swamp with her un-liveable yet somehow beautiful desert conditions.

Now where?

Seth dreams of building a house "by Grandma's house, but not too close, made out of lincoln logs and really big with nice grass: no pokeys, leaves, or bugs in it." I dream of living "in a place that could feed us: where rain falls, crops grow, and drinking water bubbles right up out of the ground." (From Animal, Vegetable, Miracle).

So, now where?

This question has become my new pregnancy, whose embryo was perhaps planted in one of my thighs since they seem big enough these days to be hosting some sort of organism (in fact, Lucy poked one of said thighs yesterday and asked if that was where the baby's leg was) but, I digress. This adjunct pregnancy is just as consuming yet more malignant. It's as if it's very arrival and ability to inflict despair booted us out of house and home out in the wilderness of unsettled peoples. Do you see where I'm coming from? (Do you know where I'm headed?) Can you sense the turmoil? I am, of course, since this is way too public of a forum, sparing you the details and my opinions for the sake of their privacy and the survival of their influence. I will, via knees and hands clasped, sort through the needs and wants and find the must be's.

But...will the must be's find reconciliation with the dreams and the vision that existed in me before I called any of the places, in which I have been placed, "home"?


Michelle said...

I know exactly what you mean and have thought of putting something down to work it out of my system- of course your words are so much better than mine. I have been obsessed with finding "good" (what ever that subjective word means)neighborhoods in all the places that seem to be possibilities. It really is such a big deal deciding where to settle. Good luck with your big decision!

birdonthelawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
birdonthelawn said...

i know. home and place has always been very important to me too. scary knowing that after paying your dues in places known as temporary,the next moving truck will take you to a place that will mean increased settling. hard to choose wisely.
made me think of my mission president who said, "pay attention to your preferences, they are a mode of god's communication".

Jordan said...

Ashley, I love that quote!

Elizabeth said...

Always a delight to hear what's on your mind. I agree you can be happy anywhere. But some places are so much easier to be happy in!

Amy said...

I think you should write more essays, Jordan. Please! Please! I love reading your words. And can't wait to see where you guys end up!

Tasha said...

Oh Jordan, It is such a shiftless time. We didn't really have a place to go "home" to, I know its even more wide open for you and craig. I always think of you as fearless, I will watch with baited breath, knowing the anxiety, of the knewly wrapped babe, the thighs, oh the thighs...

I love you, and I can't wait to see where you land.

Katy said...

We hope this new adventure brings you our way!

Kelly said...

I needed to read the quote that "bird on the lawn" shared above. Really needed that.

I can really identify with your feelings here, Jordan. I always thought this was where my roots would be, so it's shaken me a bit to revisit all this. Even though I know the basic "where", the specific "where" is causing me great anxiety to narrow down. I feel so much pressure to pick the right spot so that we don't have to uproot the girls again. Considering junior highs is about to send me over the edge.

Good luck to you guys, and I hope you find just the right spot to land. I can't wait to hear where it is.

rebecca said...

I can't believe you are already at this crossroad. Finally and turmoil-y, all at once.
We are excited for you!

Shannon said...

I feel your turmoil. Sorry. Trust that it will all work out. You know it will.

Shawna B. said...

Oh Jordan. It's like you took what's going on in my own world and wrote it all out, made sense of it, and had me nodding and thinking, "Yes! That's exactly how I feel."

Place is HUGE for me. It matters so intensely to me that sometimes it's overwhelming how much importance I place on where I am. I know what I like and what matters to me in a place and that is why it is actually physically painful for me to be leaving Virginia. It is perfect to me. I think I will always long for this place.

Best wishes as you figure out the next place. I, too, am kneeling, hands clasped, trying to find peace in what is turning out to be a very difficult move. All will be well. I know this. But there is just so much to think about ... Come over for some limeade and a chat? Perhaps we can make sense of all of it together!

Sara said...

OH. . . so well written as always! You put my similar feelings into those fabulous words of yours. I know your turmoil friend. Go with your gut (not the ever growing one. . .the one deep beneath it full of experience and wisdom and that always trusted mother's intuition. Keep us posted!

michelle said...

I'm sure the decision is that much more momentous, knowing that now it will not be as temporary, knowing that you want to put down roots. I don't do well with turmoil, or with the open-endedness of too many possibilities.

I too loved the quote posted by "birdonthelawn" -- that's good food for thought! Good luck with your big decision, I am excited to discover where you will go next.

Crystalyn said...

jordan, hoping you find your place soon. having a pending arrival is enoough "not knowing" going on, let alone the deciding of something so big. i'm sure you will find your way through it all and that when you settle in your place you will make it happy for you and all of yours.