The mere suggestion of it scares me, conjuring up images of snowbirds in plaid shorts and black socks in the real twilight of their lives, settling in for the end.
I know that’s a little extreme, but I am a product of the Atlantic Northeast, where weathering extremes is what we do: hard winters and scalding summers are a way of life. But in between, too, is balmy spring with its tender green rebirth. And the tease of Indian summer: languid October and November days that offer warmth and beauty amid a fleeting spectrum of fabulous color, about to be cast down by ice.
I love the four seasons, despite my complaints. It’s so cold. It’s so hot. We know how to survive the climate. My brother, for example, weathers the winter in a sport jacket. Cold doesn’t bother him. Our ancestors made a life here, despite the weather. That’s ingrained in us.
But more than that, I think, is a question: Where is the perfect place? Is there one for everyone? Will you know it when you find it? How do you know when it’s time to go?
I’ve moved a lot in my life already. To Boston from the suburbs as a young woman. To California at 24. And Manhattan a year or two later. Back to Boston. And then to Cape Cod, where I became a writer, a wife, and a mother.
Then to upstate New York for almost 15 years. And three years ago back here where I’m still putting down roots in an area that changed in my absence.
It’s not that I can’t leave my new town. I could. I wonder about the damage to roots when you pick them up and put them down so frequently. Does that make them stronger, or weaker?
My parents and my older sister are buried in a town not far from here. How could I leave them? Don’t I want at least part of me to end there, too, some day?
On the other hand, my husband’s bones ache for warmth. An easier job. More time to play tennis. A break from the winters he can no longer abide. Shouldn’t he have that?
It’s such a dilemma. And the only thing I really know for sure is that I’m not even close to an answer.