Stories

The Move.

August 18, 2012

Most of my belongings are packed into boxes, bags, and whatever other kind of container I had to stuff them into. August always reminds me of my impermanence. The summer is winding down & I have to move into my first apartment on September 1st. The only things left in my room are a couple of plates, a towel, my bedding, my copper buddha, incense, & my prayer beads. Most days, I wish these were all the belongings I owned. The air has been changing lately in Massachusetts. I can feel the nighttime temperature flirting with autumn.

Two years ago, I have this moment frozen in time of when I knew life was changing. It wasn’t August or September, but it was time to move forward. I was standing in the kitchen of my ex-boyfriend’s house in Chestnut Hil. It was fall & all the windows were open, I could see my breath as I creeped across the hardwood floors into the kitchen. The air smelled like change – fresh & crisp – as if to tell me “yes, it’s about that time.”

I filled up a pot to boil water for tea and set to work steeping a bag of barley. Even in other people’s homes I have stayed strict to my morning schedule – wake, tea – come into myself. I could feel every one of my toes pushing into the cold tile. I was in an oversized sweatshirt & shorts that are probably only appropriate for summer.

The soundtrack to waking up was the noise of the morning. The sleeping snores & sighs from bedrooms, the wind rattling old window panes, and the noise of dried barley changing water into tea. The sounds of lions in my chest changing the simplicity of life into something messy. I remember that this is one of the first moments in my life when I was content. Even though I knew everything was to change, I was ready for when the wind would bring it. Patient. Silent. Listening for once to the sound of my creaky ankles against cold floor and warm tea spreading into my stomach bringing me back to earth again.

It’s August. All of my things are packed into boxes. I am standing in a new kitchen with a new set of obstacles struggling to make it back to that place, where I am no longer fighting against where the earth is pushing me, but following it with ease. There is smoke rising from the nagchampa agarbathi in my windowsill. I tell myself I will become more like smoke, but I know it is only a morning meditation on fluidity. The wooden holder below the incense stick is dark, rigid, & unmoving. I imagine that I exist somewhere in between.

I know that tonight my apartment will feel like an empty shell. The bareness of the walls & the drawers & the floor a statement in themselves. I hope that I will let this emptiness fill me up, so when the time comes I can pour a cup of barley tea back into my stomach. To fill myself up with the contentment of moving, of change, of fluidity.

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  • Mary Rich

    just lovely Austin.

  • Tim

    Austin~ Your poem is wonderfully written, and excites my imagination through its imagery. Thank you! What’s next for you?

  • victoria ngare

    This is beautiful. Very inspirational as the winds change again.