As you are reading this missive, I am undoubtedly on my way back to New Home, whether driving to, waiting, flying to, waiting at again, or driving home from the airport. It has been precisely one month since I arrived here.
What a long, strange trip it has been in 28 days.
In 28 days I have gone from both of my parents being in the home they have been in for over 20 years to moving my mother into a memory care facility followed by my father into an assisted living home followed by (in less than 24 hours) my father going into the hospital for 9 days and then into a skilled nursing facility where he is waiting for clearance to move back into the assisted living home.
I have not spent this much time at home in almost 12 years. I have not done a lot - been to visit my parents, to see my sister, to see a few friends. Other than that, I have largely just been here, alone and in the quiet.
I found some things out about myself - for example, the skill of bringing a fire back from a few coals is one that is very much like riding a bicycle in that it does not take a lot to bring it back. That stacking wood is also something that you do not lose. That I can live surprisingly content and well here at The Ranch, alone by myself (largely) if need be. And that those lines I try to draw between work and home in terms of time need to be drawn a lot more firmly: whether here or there, I can still spend too much time at work.
I go back, in some very fundamental ways, a changed man.
What is next? I wish I had a better crystal ball. For the short term, continuing to return here at least once a month. See my mother and father. Sort things. Build that list of things that need to be done here now, and start to address them. Talk with The Ravishing Mrs. TB about what we want to do about the near term.
Sometimes life gives you moment like this, hard stops that simply make everything else grind to a halt and give one nothing to do but sit and think and take stock. There has been a fair amount of thinking and stock taking in the last month, walking around in a world where there are far more birds and trees than people and one can go the bulk of the day without seeing a single soul.
The "real world" seems very unreal to me right now. I wonder if it will ever seem "real" again.