When I'm in transition, at that crazy trapeze moment about to let go of one thing and go into freefall until (hopefully!) the next thing is there to grab, I tend to get a little anxious. Maybe even very anxious. And when I get anxious, I want to rush the current circumstances along, to get through the freefall stage in order to be in the comforting grasp of the next thing. Which means I hurry goodbyes, sprinting through the last moments of my old life with worried eyes peering into the future searching for something more secure. (Which of course I can't see.)
In my case, I'm not talking about people since my move is simply one mile south from Berkeley into Oakland. I'm talking more about location and the specific way that I am influenced and molded by my immediate physical space.This morning was cold and foggy so I took my cup of tea and leaned against the one counter in my very tiny kitchen, one quarter of which is occupied by an old Wedgewood stove. It's a lovely space but as I mentioned, very small. So small that it's been christened "One-Butt Kitchen" by my friends since there is very little room for more than one person to cook.
Whenever I'm in this kitchen, I'm always moving, bustling about with a goal firmly in mind and an activity to match it: cooking, prepping, cleaning, putting away dishes and groceries. I've never just lingered here. So I did that for a bit and I after a while realized I was saying goodbye and thank you and also appreciating all the wonderful things that my One-Butt kitchen offered over these past several months. That gorgeous stove, yes, and also the convenience of being able to pivot on one heel from sink to counter to stovetop; that extra half step to reach the refrigerator door. Putting dishes away in the cupboard is a simple reach to the right, checking the toaster oven a small step to the left.
And many delicious meals, both solo and in good company, and a several beautifully lit photographs, some that ended up illustrating this very column. I came here seeking refuge and this tiny space did not hold back. It welcomed me in, warmed me up and gave me just what I needed for exactly as long as I needed it.
So instead of fretting about how I was going to manage the 10,000 details ahead of me this week, instead of making lists and packing boxes, I poured another cup of tea and (without moving my feet) reached for the flour canister in the cupboard and a few eggs and a stick of butter from the refrigerator, and turned on the old Wedgewood one last time. I could feel a cake coming on, maybe just a single layer lemon cake with a honey glaze and a sprinkle of lemon thyme on top. I may be going, but I'm not gone yet.
Related: Weekend Meditation: Discoveries in a Borrowed Kitchen (the post I wrote when I moved in last August)
(Image: Dana Velden)