I was sitting in the passenger seat of Jam Guy's car with my feet up on the dash, about three-quarters of all the stuff I own in the world crammed behind us (Jam Guy, happily loading the car in San Diego with boxes of miscellaneous shapes: "It's like Tetris, but in 3D!"), drinking kefir and eating banh mi, gazing out at endless, wide-open acres planted with some constant, indistinguishable agricultural product, and reflecting on a past marked by close borders. Unthinking, not pre-editing my speech for once, I said to Jam Guy, "This is the freest I've ever been."
What I meant was, I am myself, and this time in my life is the first time that I know I don't have to let that be interfered with. That is a big deal.
Tuesday afternoon we went and viewed the house (thank you again for all the good vibes--keep them coming, please!) We met with the owner, Tom, a perfectly lovely older gentleman who weighs maybe a hundred pounds and bursts with energy and goodness, who said that he was so glad that the people buying the house are going to love and cultivate the garden; it's what he knew his parents wanted and he had been so worried that the new owners would turn it into an apartment complex or something. He gave us a grocery bag filled with jars of preserves he and his mother had put up from the garden outside: figs, pears, Italian prunes, his mother's famous raspberry jam. He also gave us all sorts of invaluable information about the garden, a whole calendar's worth of planting and pruning guidelines, so much that I said I wished I'd brought a notebook. He offered to come back and show us how to do what when, and I ended up popping by the next morning, a jar of Jam Guy's pickled figs along to give to Tom, to learn how to care for the raspberry bushes. It was fun. I wielded clippers, tied sisal, dodged yellow jackets; I had gloves full of raspberry stickers and berry stains all over my clothes when I was done. I met a lovely neighbor. I ate a fig. I am still nervous about the house, and I will continue to be until closing, but I am daring to be happy anyways.