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Goodbye, Sweet Summer

September kite

I can't remember being so reticent to say goodbye to summer. First of all, we haven't had one until this week. So it feels like I'm chasing the train down the tracks, begging it to reverse course and come back to me. But the train's left the station, and fall is unmistakably in the air--shorter days, leaves underfoot through Whatcom Falls Park, and spiders everywhere all of the sudden.

Bellingham Bay

And here's the kicker--Wyatt starts at his new school tomorrow, and Loretta at her new preschool. Nothing says "Autumn" like new backpacks and lunchboxes. I feel two ways about tomorrow. I'm so ready for routine and time to myself--time to clear off my desk, turn my attention to work, have ten minutes when I'm not asked for something. But I'll miss my kids as they disappear into those little worlds that don't have much to do with me. One thing is for sure--I won't regret not cleaning the house this summer and going to the beach instead. Next time you're sucked into ChoreLand, stop and wonder if it will really matter in the end. 

Sunset at the Marina

Down Time

Vaulted Ceilings!

I've been content to disappear this summer, hardly doing any of the snail or emailing I meant to do or the professional networking I pretty much knew I wasn't going to do. We haven't visited chuches or looked up old friends or got on any Bellingham listserves. Until a few days ago, I wanted to be off the radar, picking blackberries with my kids or holed up with my Kindle. Something is shifting though, and I find myself needing and wanting to make friends. My friend Steve and I have always wondered together why there aren't classes or workshops on how to make friends. It's an endeavor that continues throughout our lifetimes and something we don't talk that much about. How does it happen for you? If you're new somewhere, how do you break into lives and worlds that didn't need or know you before?

Besides the friend frontier, here are a few other tidbits from our 2-month foray into Bellingham life:

  • I don't miss Seattle traffic, how much planning it takes to get to a movie, or the constant parade of sirens past our house.
  • I really miss ramen, good teriyaki joints, Asian markets, the light rail, and the dizzying choices should we get a night away from the kids.
  • I know now that home is wherever Yancey and my children are. However lonely I might get in the coming months, I have everything when I have them. It sounds silly to just be realizing this now, but my Seattle life was very externalized. I don't regret that, but I'm happy to be in another stage.
  •  Bellingham needs a butcher shop. Big time. I miss my beloved Bob's.
  • When Yancey is not at the station, he is tearing down walls, rerouting plumbing, and doing his darndest to make a 1970 track home cool. We are getting there. And even if we're walking around on subfloor, it's going to be a party house. I've got a salvaged six-burner Viking cooktop and a dream-come-true Craigs List convection oven that are going to start earning their keep right away.
  • I've done more bike riding and lake swimming in the last 8 weeks than I have in the last 10 years. As summer comes to an end, I feel strong and grateful.

 As the seasons change and you face whatever is next in your life, may you feel the same--strong and grateful.

Reader Comments (11)

And to you, Leftoverist, THANK YOU for the food and philosophy! I'm feeling strong and grateful, and only a wee bit wistful with the season's changes afoot, and the obvious evening out of the dark and the light in a day! May I focus on the thankful, and not on the endings and closures. We do miss you, and it's lovely picturing you and Yancey, doing the loving things to a house that make it a home, introducing deliberated traditions. May your darling growing children LOVE this year at school and in their new home!
September 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynn M
Sarah, I to moved from Seattle to B'ham with my husband almost ten years ago. I was going to WWU post-bac program to receive my teaching certificate so I was able to meet many great people who have stayed friends. After we had my son Jack in 2004, I really started to meet people and then you eventually become really good friends with a few parents of your children's friends. Let me not forgot all the wonderful people that I grew to love as I worked at the Greenhouse for a couple of years and must stop in and see so that I can say hi such as your mother. Overall, it takes time. I also agree with everything else that you pointed out today:
• I miss the pulse and energy of Seattle when we visit friends but I do not miss the traffic.
• I severely missed the restaurant selection after first moving here and still do.
• After buying a 1980 home and gutting it to update it for a modern family, and ten years later still do not have trim around the windows (and the list could go on), I would put away my frustrations of not having enough time in the day for projects and family and realize that I could live in a shack anywhere in the world as long as I had my husband and the kids with me.
• Bellingham does need a butcher shop.
• My husband also worked very hard remodeling our house but six years later it is still not finished but livable.
• Bellingham is such a fabulous place to raise a family and we have also had such a great summer. I guess it is one of the reasons why our house never gets finished.

As for making friends, your mother told me just yesterday that we should all get together and meet. Let's do it!
September 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacy O
Sarah, you may be a truthteller, but you are also a magician. Who else, but a magician, has the strength and clarity to conjure up Sweetness out of the Bittersweet? So that's why I come to this table. To remember, for strength and gratitude are the alpha and omega of living in Sweetness. Hurray for your blog, Sarah, and for this community.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercate
it has happened, but very few of my dear friends just fell into my lap. initiation and intentionality. some of this movement has resulted in life-long friendships; some in a great 2 hour coffee date. just this past week i asked the artist/leathersmith i bought a bag from (oh you - and peg - will die; it's gorgeous) if she would be game for meeting for coffee. i acknowledged perhaps it seemed a bit odd, but she was totally game. i like her, love her work...who knows...maybe we will become pals. :)

at some point, in all good friendships, the initiation becomes mutual. but in the beginning, it always takes going out on a limb. i don't wait to be pursued.

[huh....wonder if i need to think about this when it comes to dating. :) ]
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjordan
I lived in Bellingham, for the summer, 30 years ago. It was a gorgeous summer, full of hiking, lake trips and berry picking. My husband was a rookie league baseball player for the Mariners. Not sure if they still have the team there. We lived within walking distance of the park.
The other baseball wives were all in shock at being away from their families for the first time. I spent the summer dragging them out of their apartments to go DO something. We picked blackberries in August and made jam. None of them had ever done either.
You will surely make friends soon. There have got to be lots of interesting people there still. Have fun!
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMolly
You know, I wonder whether the solution is in the problem? When we made our big move, to a place where we knew no one, I found instant friends (and community) in my kids' schools. Perhaps the starting up will bring a new crowd of fresh faces, and all the sparks that that entails.

Also, we passed out lots of cookies those first weeks. I do think that helps :)

Cheers to you, Sarah, as you move into this next chapter. The house, and the summer, look pretty darn fine.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermolly
You've got a lot of beautiful landscape and seascape shots there. I really like it and keep it up. Good luck.
September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmity @ letterhead printing
Faithful member of the IPOL FAMILY available for coffee and conversation. Inquire within!
September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPam
You could teach that class on making friends. So glad you've had the summer you've had and hats off to you for letting it be the internalized, family summer that it was.
September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEm
the pictures are gorgeous & I share your sentiments about Summer & Fall this year. I biting off as much as I can chew in this instance.
Welcome to Bellingham. I moved here September of 2001 and met my husband who is a born and raised Bellingham-ster. I've found it hard to meet people in Bellingham as I didn't have any specific ME activities besides my jobs. I am now a stay at home mom of a 2 year old daughter who is DETERMINED to meet new people for my sanity and for my daughter ot have friends and get used to various situations. I grew up in Portland and would give anything most days to be back there living near my family but like you the TRAFFIC is horrific. I miss the opportunities and such a city can offer.
I love cooking, finding fresh local ingredients and learning ways to make my family healthier. I am so excited to find a blog of someone actually in my area. I hope you find Bellingham to be a nice place to live. Have you heard abotu Stoney Ridge Farm? It's a great family farm that has pumpkin patch, hay rides, apple picking, fresh cider and all the fun things those places provide.
September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrydie

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