This is the last night we can call the Blue Mountains home. Tomorrow we are leaving the house that has become so safe and familiar over the past two years. This is where Alba was conceived and born. This is where we grew into a family and became better people.
I feel pangs of sadness that Alba won’t have clear memories of our home here and and that we may never step foot inside our old house again. But we will always feel a connection to the mountains.
I already miss the cold wintry nights cuddling by a roaring fire, warming our tummies with hot soup. I’ll miss standing on our balcony looking over the rises and falls of hazy blue mountains. We’re so high up sometimes a cloud would wash right through us and chill our bones. I’ll miss walking to the end of the street, trekking through wilderness until we arrived at our rock. It overhangs the valley and we’d have picnics there, feeling like we’re watching over the whole world.
I’ll miss laying in bed feeding Alba and reading, looking out the window now and then as the eucalyptus trees sway with birds in their branches. I’ll miss our cozy little ghost town, walking to the train station in the peacefulness of dawn before we had a car. Feeling a kinship with all of the other mountainfolk we’d pass. I’ll miss bringing home overflowing baskets of local produce from the co-op and garden and spending hours cooking in our big open kitchen. Most of all I will miss this- the breathless, absolute silence. Only a rustle of leaves in the wind, softer than a whisper against a backdrop of quiet.
This is our first real home, and somehow we know this is the right time to say goodbye. And so, on to more adventures we go.
Life has been peaceful since coming home, even amongst all the busyness.
One morning we woke up to snowflakes flurrying past our window. It was spring and the sun was full but the land was covered in fresh snow.
I’ve only ever seen sleet, never so much that the land seemed to ache beneath it. Now and then a tree branch would snap and echo out into the endless white, but otherwise all was magically silent. It was a childhood dream come true.
I dressed myself and Alba warmly and we went outside. I imagined we were walking into Narnia. A snowflake gently fell on Alba’s cheek and she snuggled into me. She was curious, her little blue eyes flicking from the snowy tree-tops to the falling snow and then to the long, white slope up to our home, our garden hidden dormant somewhere beneath. It is so nice to think that all that she sees takes a place somewhere in her memory. Even though she might not remember the day as vividly as we will, or in the same way, I know one day she will feel awe watching the videos we filmed of it.
We visited a festival of Joy at the Katoomba community garden. There was folk music, food made fresh from the garden and laughing kids running underfoot. Alba crawled on the grass and we all shared pumpkin soup.
For years I’ve been wanting to take part in national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo). And now that I am more busy than ever I’m finally doing it. Since becoming a mama I’ve realised how precious time is. In ways I’ve been more creative and productive than ever, because my free time is so fleeting.
It’s not been easy finding opportunities to write between moving interstate, shooting, editing, emails, social networking, releasing the new Color Shop, cooking, cleaning, taking care of Alba and so on. But I do, and somehow I even have time to spare for board games and philosophical discussions with M.
At around midnight when Alba falls asleep I sit in my rocking chair with tea, dark chocolate and my laptop and I write until 5am. Alba wakes up a few times to feed and I welcome the break and the chance to run my hands over her baby skin. The next day I sleep in while M brings her outside. She happily chomps away on greens while he gardens, calling out “birr! birr!” as she spots birds. Being a mama is so time consuming that some times I feel pangs of regret at the time I wasted when I had all the time in the world. But I chose this for a reason, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The house is beginning to feel empty. Upstairs we pack boxes and boxes of things we have collected together over the past two years. It’s strange to think that before we moved here the entirety of our earthly belongings fit into two suitcases. Most of these things will be given away, so we are left with only things we truly love.
Our front garden was once a slope of bare, unfertile soil. Over the last six months M has brought it to life. Some afternoons we pick rocket, baby spinach and herbs for salads. Cherry tomatoes burst sweet and sun-warmed on our tongues and soon the kale will be ready to eat.
Of all the things we’re leaving behind, this will be the hardest. M is making the garden self-sustaining, so hopefully it will live on and continue to provide in his absence.
These are our last weeks in the home where we went from being teenage lovers to becoming a family.
(Note: This post has been published two weeks late. Right now we only have two days left in our mountain home.)