Wednesday, August 10, 2011


It has been a busy - overwhelming, really - spring and summer, as evidenced by the lull in my posting. Oh, but there has been so much to say and note. After 15 years of living in my beloved Ann Arbor, Michigan, we dug out our deeply rooted roots and relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota this past week. First loves leave an indelible mark on our hearts - we forever hold them safely nestled in that special place reserved for the most precious and dear to us. Ann Arbor is my first love. I moved to tree town from the east coast for college and in my years there grew into the person I am today shaped and cradled by its branches. My heart was shaped in Ann Arbor, in the diverse experiences I had there, and by the many people I love there. I learned about love, freedom, joy, creativity, hard work, who I am, and who I strive to be. I take all of this with me in our move -  and it is far more valuable, far more treasured, than any of the boxes that were loaded onto that moving truck. 

We spent our last days in Ann Arbor trying to live as normally as possible, enjoying every little extraordinary and mundane thing that we cherished about it. We went to the farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, we played at Belize park on Fountain St, we spent time with friends while denying impending goodbyes, we watered the garden and watched the broccoli heads grow, hoping that the new family living in our house would enjoy it round their own dining room table (for despite my efforts to plant a garden that would be ready for harvest before we packed our bags, those carrots, beets and other veggies were still working their way to maturity when we left), we dreamed of the gardens we hope to plant and grow at our new house.

When the movers came there was a sense of surrealism and trying to just make it through those hectic days of packing, loading, traveling hundred of miles with animals and a toddler. I was so impressed by the grace and resilience of the animals and the little Miss, who (mostly) kept their cool while our things were packed into boxes and we were left living in an empty house for a week. They found ways to turn transition into an opportunity for play - stacks of boxes lining the walls of the house turned into endless canvas for coloring, a makeshift dining room table, even a jungle gym.

Kuma the dog had her turn at the fun when it came time to paint several of the rooms in our house back to white.

As I process this move to an unfamiliar city, I realize that place itself is significant mostly as a backdrop to the people it contains and the way it shapes those that reside within it. We may find a great new storytime to attend, discover a small but consciously managed farmer's market right in the neighborhood, befriend a fabulous new food coop, discover a lovely natural space to take walks, find that delicious new restaurant that can lift your spirits even when you start to question all the decisions that have brought you to this place. But it is people that make life and a place so special, so much more than the place itself - and they are simply not replaceable. No doubt, we will integrate into our new community in time - the people here are kind and genuinely seem to love living here. But sometimes being in this new space, meeting new people, seeking out new rhythms and haunts really just makes my heart ache even more for my first love and the people we had to say goodbye to.

We ate our last supper in Ann Arbor at our favorite restaurant - the place we went on family dates whenever we went out to eat - where they said their goodbyes followed with, "You'll be back." Because we often do return to the places that we truly love. We certainly never forget them. 


  1. Hi! I checked on a whim and was delighted to see your new post. And then, sad to read it, because we miss you so much! Can't wait to visit and try out your "delicious new restaurant".

  2. It must have been hard saying goodbye to everything (and especially everyone!). If you need any tips on places in the Twin Cities, just let me know!

  3. we are so glad you posted! we are thinking of you guys every day, wondering how the process of growing new roots is going...2+ years into chicago and i still feel my roots belong to tree town. however, you not being there surely changes ann arbor for us as well. we miss it every day, but even more so what it meant to us with you in it, my dear friend. it will not be the same without you. xoxo