The thing with trying new things, or finding homeless puppies, or living in new cities, is you get attached. You get attached and you don’t want to give these new things back, or you want to take the puppy home, or you want to stay somewhere a little longer than you’re allowed. First comes the little pinch as you realise something has to and soon will, end. Then comes the rip, the walk-away. And it stings every single time, no matter how calloused your skin or how conditioned your mind for departure.
Life is starting to give us the wind-up hand here in Kiel. Of the six months it allocated us in SG’s home city, three and a half are up. That leaves us with two and a half. It will, as is time’s habit, disappear overnight. It will snap, like an elastic band, shrink to smaller proportions in a sip of wine, over the course of a sunny afternoon spent with friends and family; one busy, work-filled week will deliver us to the final handful of days, the goodbye drinks, the taping up of boxes, the turning onto the autobahn with take away coffees and a 7 hour drive ahead. The hand that seems leisurely now, will soon be the one pushing us down the autobahn, back to Bavaria, back to another allotment of time that will itself, before long, wind up and shrivel to the approximate size and shape of a collection of memories. Just like Kiel has done. And Sydney and Münster and everything else before it.
So it’s time to gear up again. There has been a lot of gearing up over the past 3 years, a lot of winding up and moving on. And the easiest rip of them all was the first one, when I had everything in front of me and the vague assumption that, when ready, I would simply return to the home I was leaving behind and it would be easy. After that, it just got harder because as we get older, we get heavier, weighted to the ground by all we have collected and assumed, by all we have put down, those roots tucked into the earth and less flexible, less supple, less willing to be pulled up time and time again. And you only need the first time to learn how tired gearing up, moving out and moving in, settling down – all of those phrasal verbs associated with newness, with change, with motion – makes you. And the second time. And the third time.
That’s not to say a little part of me likes the gear up, needs the gear up. I have become accustomed to it, since life began sorting itself out into distinct increments of time, post Münster. Six months in Weiden. Six months in Sydney. Six months in Kiel. Twelve more months in Weiden until the next location gets fixed. These allotments of time have all had rhythms of their own, rhythms I recognise as they play out and tempo changes I feel the moment they occur. The gear up, the move, the settling, the new normal, wind up, the gear up, the move.
The tempo has changed. I can feel it. We’re settled, but we’re starting to brace. Those roots have to come back up again. The wind up has begun.