Moving is a strange thing. There’s that time when you know it’s going to happen, so you slowly withdraw, tie up loose ends and prepare the house for the big day. Orders come and you have a location. You google schools and neighborhoods, research your new location and anticipate change. It’s an odd time when you feel as if you’re straddling the world, one foot in one place and other in the next. It’s unsettling. And then you move physically. You go through the motions of unpacking, registering the kids in new schools and activities, plugging in to a new church… but your heart hasn’t quite caught up. It’s still in your last place, lingering, sad, heals dug in and not letting go. That can last a long time.
Leaving Maryland was sad in some ways. I’d learned to love it there as I always learn to love my new homes. We found people and places and comfort. We learned to be locals, a lesson that my military life has taught me well.
Oklahoma wasn’t new, or I didn’t think it was, and yet, it’s changed. In ten years it grew up. New things appeared and old things are far better advertised. I’ve grown too. Europe taught me to seek experiences. Maryland gave me a new passion for birds. Everything I learn in each home is something that I take with me to the next and those lessons and passions make each new place even better.
So, this bird, this beautiful Scissortail Flycatcher, is Oklahoma’s state bird, but also a segway for me from one home to the next. He’s brought a little joy to my neighborhood and has aided in that final move, the one when my heart finds peace, catches up with my physical self, and finally feels at home.
He’s just a bird, but to me, he’s a joy and a challenge, the beginning of a new group of birds to stealthily stalk with my zoom lens, the continuance of something begun in one place that seals the cracks between the moves. Perhaps it’s these little things that we all seek in creating our new homes. The regular coffee shop, the circle of friends, the bit of your life cut off, but then restored in a new place. It’s a good thing.
Yeah, I’ll always appreciate Maryland, particularly Calvert County, for the quirks, culture, nature, and people – some really wonderful people – but I’m happy to say Oklahoma is home, tornados and all, and my heart is content. (Watch out Scissortail… I’m on the lookout for you!)