Frost clings to the unkempt grass

In our new home, Winterport, Maine. I haven’t been able to mow. First because it was too much for my pneumonia recovery. Then the mower deck broke. At this point the little creatures are nestled into the their winter homes and it would be just be rude to disturb them.

I find myself distracted and somber, staring into the distance, looking but not seeing. Is this where I’m meant to be? Will I be happy here in ten years? Here I am, a woman who sells everything to live on a boat then has a hard time settling on land. But, you see, the boat could travel and this house cannot.

My mother-in-law, has been staying with us for the past month since having fallen off her dock and broken her ankle. We are fortunate to have a handicap accessible, well, everything. Between my parents and my grandmother living here with disabilities, it is perfectly set up for a home rehab.

Gloria is easy to get along with and is constantly worried she’s a burden. But she’s not. Her two little dogs barking at everything is what gets me. Spraying them is only effective if I hunt them down every time the bark, which is not feasible.

Kevin picked up bark collars yesterday. I hate to do it, but I can’t be wound up over it all the time either. I can’t even walk out of my own bedroom without them barking. They bark when we go out the door. I don’t despise them—I actually enjoy them when they aren’t barking.

Hopefully getting the barking under control with help my pangs of anxiety and mini-anger episodes, which are inevitably chased by a heavy-chested depressive feeling that often weighs me down for hours. The last thing everyone needs is a full-out Mandy meltdown.

At least Chips loves them, and they are good to the cat. The cat doesn’t care they exist. Although, I’m not sure he cares about anything other than the of level in his food dish. And, Kevin would like to add, the availability of butler service at the door.

House calls for PT, OT and nursing are multiple times a week—a constant barrage of necessary intrusion. My parents stop in, too, which is really no big deal. Accept for the few times that it is, when I’m already anxious and want to hide in my closet with a chocolate bar.

It’s irrational, I know. I’d make a great hermit.

In the past, whenever I’d felt my stress level ratchet up, I’d just walked into the woods and usually be fine by the time I came back. I worry with only 22-acres that I’ll have stepped in every place a human can here in a short time. The 34-acres at the farm had begun to feel small when we left, and that only took five years.

Kevin, Chip and I had a little break from it all over the weekend at the Bradford Camp. A fair portion of it was spent cleaning, moving furniture around, and installing a queen size bed in the main area to replace the world’s most uncomfortable futon.

We played pros vs. cons for living on each of the properties—Bradford and Winterport. I’d had a minor disagreement with my mother. Between my bipolar and her traumatic brain injury I was worried this might not be the best idea. A big part of my sudden internal turmoil for a sense of place and need to nest is winter. As a life-long Mainer, the first few frosts signal a need to prepare for the Big Freeze of the months ahead.

After some time away at camp and some distance from the situation, it became clear that this house in Winterport with it’s sunny enclave spot for a desk in the window overlooking the stream is our home, and we will keep the Bradford Camp the way it is—aside from some much needed road care and solar.

Danny spent some time with us out to camp too, after the chaos of moving and cleaning was over with. He enjoys the stream, foraging for mushrooms, and tracking animals out there. I’m looking forward to making snowshoe trails with him this winter. When things get stressful I can immerse myself in 223-acres of wilderness and easily never step in the same place twice.

This week I’m planning to plant bulbs to come up in the spring, now that the freak Indian-summer weather has passed. That will give me something to look forward to during the long Maine winter. I’ve also invited a new friend over to check out the beginnings of my new tree tunnel as I choose a path to prepare for the next woven archway.

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