WORDS & IMAGES: KATE WEINER
I recently moved to the West Coast from the East. In the two and a half weeks since I've taken root in a new city, I've wrestled with finding a way to feel present. On rough days, I feel like I'm the new face at a close-knit sleepaway camp, whiling away the time until I get to go home. I miss friends and family, the opportunity to explore the world with those I love.
Glimpses into my friend's lives backpacking in the Midwest and journeying across the Amalfi Coast and trekking up distant mountains has made me wonder if I am doing it all wrong. I live in a small city, with a hand-me down bike to get me around and a physically tiring farming job that means most of my travel is solely between cabbage beds and my new bed in the attic of an unfamiliar house.
No matter what I am feeling, I am still here, now. And this means that I have to learn to draw contentment from my surroundings, to explore my temporary home with as much relish and openness and eagerness to see, do, taste, touch, as I have brought to past adventures.
The house I live in may not feel as nurturing as homes I've known before. My job may be rough in ways I hadn't expected. My transition may be one step forward, two steps back.
As I sit in a kitchen that isn't mine in the early morning, cooking breakfast for just myself, feeding my body for what should be a long day on the farm, I am hungry to map out a way to make these next several months meaningful to me. I reflect on the many small things that have made this liminal period already rich in sparks of connection...
My bike ride over a bridge to a new yoga studio and how blue the river is. The cat that always hangs out at my favorite tea shop. Sharing fresh juice with Maia at the end of a hot day. Walking through the farmers' market with Rachel. Savoring Rainier cherries on the porch of my house. Running laps around my new neighborhood with headphones in, smiling at strangers, at the folk band on the porch, at the old woman watching her husband play the guitar. Learning that the rattail radishes I spent hours harvesting are now served, pickled and with cardamom chai chicken wings, from a friendly food cart close to my house. Learning that what makes me feel most alive is time outside and walks with friends and shared meals.
Sending postcards to loved ones.
Spending hours combing through the shelves of little bookstores.
Waking up with the sun and thinking: this can be enough. Here now, this is enough.
You understand the significance of travel, of friends and family, when you take the time to recognize the inherent sense of exploration embedded in the everyday. You will not always be in a place or have the privilege to do exactly what it is you want to love. You will seize an opportunity you realize later wasn't quite right. You'll find that everything isn't coming together as quickly as planned. And you are here, now. You make it work. You cry a little and keep on reaching out; pity yourself some and keep growing a sense of self. You see the pinky-orange morning, your pan of sizzling eggs, your sore limbs, as something wonderful and worthy of knowing.
Here, now. Enough.