Three Hundred Walks

We are moving to London.

Most of you know this by now, but I apologize if this is the first you’ve heard of it. It was confirmed in December, and we’ve kind of kept it in the background during the holiday festivities. But now we begin to prepare. My to-do list is longer than a double roll of single-ply toilet paper (anyone know how long that actually is?). But we’ve got time… six months, at least.

It’s all very exciting, and we’re happy to be going. We will have regrets at leaving our lovely little town and being far away from our friends, as well as farTHER away from our families. It will be extremely hard to leave Will in the US at whatever college he selects. But we’ve known all along that he would be moving on and that he wasn’t going to be living down the street attending Salem State come August. London is a little further than Boston, but we plan to see him at the holidays and school breaks, just as we would have were we living in Marblehead. We’ve made enough big moves to know that we will keep the strong friendships from this phase of our lives, we will still see our families, and we will make a happy life for ourselves in London.

The hardest thing about the move– the only thing keeping me from being really excited about going to the city of Dickens– is the possibility of leaving our Gus behind. We have the offer of a good home for him in Ohio, as well as with a lovely family here in Marblehead, and I’ve also done the research on what it would take for a dog to go with us. But we’re undecided and, I fear, divided, about what we should do. Today, after a breakdown of a sizable proportion even by my standards, a new project was born. It’s called Three Hundred Walks, and here’s the first entry, which explains the project:

1/3/11– Our morning walk was delayed today by my complete emotional breakdown. I finally put on paper the thoughts that have been swirling in my head since we learned of the possible move to London. Will we or won’t we take Gus? What’s best for him? Can I bear to leave him behind, even in a good home? How will it impact the kids? One good cry (not the first, I should add) and a short nap later than we usually leave, Gus and I stepped out onto the ice-crusted snow for our first walk of the day.

Precariously up and over the snow mountain currently separating our driveway from the walking path that runs alongside our house, we started on our usual route. Just less than halfway along, at the end of the Temple parking lot, where we cut across to walk by the ocean, it occurred to me that at the very least I should enjoy the walks I still have with him here. How many would that be? Twice a day for about six months—something like 360 walks. Take away the times I send Will out with him, and other times we’re out of town and he’s boarding, and we slide down toward 300. 300 walks. What if I soaked in each one of those—wrote about them, savored them? What insights would I gain about my relationship with this beast? Would it make it any easier to let go of him if I could somehow distill our remaining time together into something rich and enduring?

We stayed in the sunlight on this walk, because yesterday’s thaw and last night’s freeze had left not only the dirty, ice-crusted snow banks (already treacherous enough up on the path), but slick spots of smooth, black ice on the road and parking lot. Gus was the one who pulled me to the sunny side of the Temple lot. After I said his name in sharp reprimand for pulling me, I realized he was right and we took his course. My reward for sliding and stumbling over the path instead of keeping to the neighborhood streets was that I finally got back to my favorite ocean overlook at the corner of Surf St. and Spray Ave. (I’m completely serious, those are the street names!) for the first time since last week’s serious snowfall. The water was dazzlingly bright on this cold morning. You could hardly bear to look directly across it toward the morning sun. But to the north I observed a big cargo ship headed out to sea. I wonder where it was going.

Thanks for letting me share this with you. I don’t intend to “overshare” my trauma over Gus, but I might occasionally post something from this journey. Love to all on this cold, melancholy day. I think I will be drinking tea this afternoon, instead of coffee.

4 thoughts on “Three Hundred Walks

  1. I was already getting teary, but the thought of you having tea without me was, well, just wrong and pushed me to full blown crying.  I wish I could be there to help walk you through your emotions over the move generally and Gus specifically.  However, it sounds like you have a great plan in place and I pray you all (notice, I didn’t say y’all) come to a place of peace concerning Gus and his future.As always…you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Oh, Natalie, thank you, my friend!  I’ll have tea with you anytime!  We NEED to figure out how to skype– actually, you probably already know, with your traveling family.  I need to figure it out.  Tea via skype is not the same as tea at the same table, but…Thanks for your prayers and thoughts.  They mean so much!

  3. Pingback: A look inside my bit of London | A fresh cuppa chaos

  4. Pingback: Reunions and Happy Endings | A fresh cuppa chaos

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