I have been on the fence a long time about where we live. Pretty much since we moved here. We've bought property, made friends, and started a business all with a caveat: for now. For now. For now.
At least, forever for now.
Which is a big difference.
Last fall, I was done. One hundred percent ready to sell up and move North: somewhere where we wouldn't be so progressive. Somewhere we could just SHOP at a store like mine instead of trying to make one. Somewhere with cold water and snow and public schools that send kids onto national, 4-year, high-profile universities.
So we knocked on that door. K. sent out job applications. I sent out business-selling feelers. We looked for property.
And nothing happened.
Except: the store swung up, sharply. Dixie came to work for me. The store hit the beginnings of a stride. The weather was flawless. We got a lot of publicity, the New York Times article, the book deal. The building began to make money. Our friends became our friends rather than our acquaintances.
And K. quit his job, spent the summer in New England and driving through the West with an eye for a better life somewhere else.
In the mean time, I was driving around Mississippi in my produce van, thinking about how much I've come to love this place. How this place is making room for me, with my different last name and my every-other-week church attendance and my wonderful crazy store on Main Street. How much I love the ease of our life in our small town, and the stretch of cotton fields, and the arched pecan trees, and the feeling I have that I can work here.
I am running into a limit of language here. But in this town, I have the feeling that must possess pioneers and missionaries: that what I do matters HERE: more than it would elsewhere.
(As pretty much everybody can see, I really love what I do. I have had a few people tell me lately that they think it's wonderful, my job, because it's so good for the town.
Well, that's not why I do it. I do what I do because I am good at it, because it matters somehow to me, because I can see the way things could be and I can make them so if I just work hard enough.
It's not materialistic (though I fervently plan to earn a small-town living from it), but it's entirely selfish at the same time. I do it for me. Not the town, or the farmers, or the environment, or the building, or anyone besides me.)
I was thinking, all summer, that it might be too late for me to move. That my roots have sunk down and now it would hurt to move. I like it here. A lot.
But I wasn't sure about K. He wasn't even HERE all summer. What if, to follow a dream of his, we had to move elsewhere?
I was afraid.
And then, the other day, I was behind my copper counter, and my phone rang. It was K. I answered.
He said, "the farm is on the market."
My heart rose into my throat. I knew exactly what he was talking about: 20 acres of fields and woods within walking distance to Main Street. A piece of property we'd tried to buy when we first moved here. A piece of property that had always tugged on our hearts, though we'd put it pretty firmly out of mind when we renovated our house and moved here. But lately-- like in the last six months-- we'd begun to feel that we were done with this sweet house. That it had served its purpose: to shelter a family with a toddler and an infant and serve as a practice ground for our design and lifestyle ideas.
K. told me how much the sellers was asking. It was less than we'd hoped/feared.
(Though the listing price is ALSO more than we're paying.)
So that launched a big conversation that we'd kind of danced around for awhile, so K. could get his bearings in this new world he's in.
I said, "I don't want to buy this place unless we're staying."
And K said, "it feels like the right thing to do." And, "we're staying."
At least, until we're not. Things can always change. But right now, we're staying, which is a lot different than planning on leaving at some point in the not-distant future.
The money part is going to be tight. It's going to be a little crazy. But here's what it looks like we have:
Our dream farm, with a less than dreamy house on it.
Our current house, which we are listing for sale as soon as our contract is finalized on the farm.
And K: handy, amazing, get-it-done K, who is not tied to a 9-5 job right now.
Seems like it was meant to be.