Wednesday, September 19, 2012

To begin.

Let me take you back to this time last year.

There we were (husband and I) one morning in our nice bed in a little but longish farmhouse apartment in western Massachusetts describing to one another what we wanted out of the next year. There was probably tea (hers) and coffee (his). If it was Sunday, there were biscuits and a crossword. It was probably a beautiful, brisk, autumny, yellow leaves on the birches kind of day and the window were probably stubbornly open despite said briskness. We were probably planning an afternoon bike ride into town or a country drive to find favorite apple brie sandwiches and local cider. Precisely the kind of day for which you move into a small, longish farmhouse in western Massachusetts to begin with.

I was probably on the verge of miserable.

At the time, I had a full-time job at a little liberal arts college that I loved. I had also just finished the first draft of my dissertation proposal, which took two years longer than advisable because of said job (it was another year before the darn thing was actually approved and in final form, but that's another story). It was realistically about to go on hold again as the new school year began, which neither my committee, nor my own sense of worth, was likely to tolerate for long. I was wracked with anxiety and in doubt that I would ever finish the degree.

In addition to that, there were the dinner parties proposed, the newlywed homesteading, the occasional knitting nights, the novels on my bedside table, the weekend hikes and beer-brewing, the simple dinners cooked and feasted upon together - things our little partnership wanted and needed time and space for. I wanted to invest in those activities without guilt that my time perhaps 'should' have been spent writing my dissertation.

Something had to go.

While I had too much on my proverbial plate at the time, husband had too little. He'd made a big professional sacrifice on my behalf, moving his career from managing humanitarian relief programs abroad to trying to consult on those projects from western Massachusetts so that I could pursue this position. He did so happily (good feminist husband that he is), but it wasn't satisfying. It wasn't enough. Where I was anxious and overworked, he was frustrated and bored.

And so as much as we loved our New England nest, our little garden and big fields, the river down the road, the bookshop in the mill, the nearby camping, our hardy neighbors (who traded us their eggs for our homebrewed beer), we knew it was time to go.

So, six months later, we moved from rural farmhouse overlooking a pumpkin field into urban treehouse overlooking Rock Creek Park, and one year later we are properly settled into our nation's capital. Husband has himself a super job, I have myself time, a writing desk, and some zucchini bread. We're glad.


  1. So happy for you! How beautiful that you were able to move from misery to gladness.

    1. Thank you, Bonnie! I'm always grateful for your blog posts from Amherst (and nearby) to bring me back to many of my favorite Pioneer Valley spots.