Hummingbirds and Rainbows

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Casita Trailers, Downsizing, Featured, Travel, Uncategorized | 7 comments

Hummingbirds and Rainbows

A month ago, Ben woke up and said, “I’m ready to retire.” No preamble, no warning. There it was. All day I kept asking him if he was serious. He was serious. He recognized the treadmill, working without respite and getting nowhere. I’ve envisioned this day, but at the same time had let go of it happening. I didn’t know when he would make the decision. I knew for a long while though, that as much as we love living here, there was going to be the day we would need to make a change–hopefully before he worked himself to the bone.

First, we will sell the house I’ve lived in for 23 years. Most of us have had the experience of letting go of what we have loved, to gain something else, or to downsize, or to upsize. Any way you slice it, there’s emotion attached. I finished raising my son from age 10 to 19 in this house. I served Thanksgiving meals to mom and celebrated 18 Christmases with her and most with my son until she died in 2011. My brother came every year for 18 years to celebrate mom’s birthday and in her 90s other family members came to celebrate. We had family reunions. We healed relationships. We built new relationships.

I married Ben ten years ago under the locust tree that was a stick in the ground when my mother helped me buy this 1,500 square foot modular on an acre of land in 1992. I’ve watched other trees grow from a foot  to 30 feet high. We’ve buried four beloved pets on the bank above the house. Our real estate agent says not to mention death to a potential buyer–no one wants to know anything is buried on their property.

I only partially realized my vision in my 30 x 30 foot garden–arbors and stone paths and wild flowers. We do, however, have a great crop of peas and onions and the potato plants are two feet high, and isn’t that the point. Someone else can build stone paths–or not.  We once grew a 35-pound watermelon and 10-pound cabbages. We’ve worked the soil and built raised beds and put in drip irrigation. Ben constructed PCV tents to make small greenhouses. Ben built a brick patio with a rock retaining wall and I planted the wall and edged the patio with steppables. We put in 15 lavender plants and about the same number of Russian Sage. We recently planted five ponderosa pines. And we repainted the inside, and Ben laid a laminate floor in the bedroom and a new vinyl floor in the kitchen. There’s more to do. Ben will reseal the deck, repair the steps, clean up and stack some firewood, install trim in the skylights he repaired a few years ago.

We have loved well and planted roots of all kinds on this property. The house has been sanctuary, a haven, a place of respite. But it’s time to let go. Each day I bless it all and release it to the next family, hoping they feel it too. Family no longer comes because it’s our turn to travel the 1,000 miles that they traveled so faithfully for so long. My son and girlfriend comes occasionally, but their lives are busy. We are tired. We want a new adventure. And so…we will let go.

We are buying a 17′ Casita Spirit Deluxe trailer and a Ford F150 truck and we are taking the show on the road. I’m packing up treasures and getting rid of most everything else. I gave away mom’s love seat a few days ago, the one I sat on as a child and she sat on the last 18 years of her life. A young friend will put the love seat in her basement hair salon along with a pine armoire I gave her. Yesterday I sold the metal patio set mom brought with her from California in 1992. It sat on my patio–on the grass before Ben built the patio–rusting into antiquity. I had visions for that table and chairs as well, but a second-hand dealer came yesterday and paid $45 for it. I was happy. She was ecstatic.

An Anna’s hummingbird made our property her territory. She winters over and I keep a heat lamp on her feeder through the winter. She rewarded me this spring by building a nest outside my office window in plain view through the branches. I watched her raise two chicks. She started a second brood in another tree on the other side of the house. Her chicks are long gone, but she’s still here, coming to the feeder even if I’m standing next to it. One morning last week she came to my office window on the other side of the house and looked in at me. Going through things yesterday I found a card mom had saved of a painting of an Anna’s hummingbird–the same color as my Anna’s–looking in a window. I will miss my Anna’s Hummingbird and hope the next owner will value her as I have.

I recently videoed a rainbow across the valley while recording the sound of birds, feeling nostalgic for what we are giving up to gain–“my” Anna’s Hummingbird, the rainbows across the valley, the house, the garden, the trees, my lavender bushes, and Ben’s shop he built and never had time to do anything else but store his tools and supplies for work.

Ben says we know we won’t have this again, but a friend reminds me, “There are hummingbirds and rainbows everywhere.”

Photo: the Anna’s Hummingbird is grooming her nest. I love the way the light hits her neck feathers.





  1. I’ve moved a good bit in my time, and every time, at some point in the process, I weep copious tears. Now you’re the one who’s moving on, and I’m in tears again. The details of what we leave behind with each ending differ, but the feelings are the same.

    Perhaps that’s what makes day’s end so poignant: this day, too, will never come again. But tomorrow will come, and the next day, and in time, the gifts those days bring will begin replacing the pleasures we’ve known.

    It’s so good to see you here, beginning this new chapter. I’m looking forward to following along.

    • I just saw your reply. I haven’t been able to write again because I’ve either been packing, or getting the house ready to be shown (it is, but no bites yet), or asleep on the sofa at 8 p.m. too tired to think a thought. If not those two choices, I’ll be sitting outside in my beautiful yard, crying those copious tears. It’s been a hard month and my naturopath wants to test me for adrenal insufficiency. I’m thinking a few months on the road first–then let’s see if I’m not rejuvenated. I think I may have turned the corner on the big grief today. A friend said, “the house is now taking more than it’s giving,” and that’s so true. It’s really time. I know there will be more tears, especially two or three weeks down the road when I fully internalize the truth that I can’t go home, except to my little trailer.

      I do plan to write about this journey, but need to retool this site and find a name for the blog that is the main URL, rather than my name as the URL. Haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Stay tuned. So glad you’re there. Thanks.

  2. I am here, and plan to be for a good while. I will stay tuned.

    • Hi Linda, You said you would still be here. Hope you check out the new site. I’m still figuring it out, even though it’s straightforward, but a place to write. Look forward to seeing you there.

      • Yes, ma’am, I’m here! I’ll pop right over to the new place and see what’s up. After all this time, I just changed the format of my blog — I have a nice, fresh, modern look now that I really like. I’m anxious to see what you’re up to.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to your home and all that it has meant to you, given to you over the years. I’m in awe that you’re condensing your life into a trailer and hitting the road. Now THAT’S an adventure!

    • Thank you Susanne.I just saw this comment because I haven’t been checking this site, which I’m going to do in the future as I’m going to recreate it as a friend and I create an anthology of birth stories. Thanks for stopping by.
      Hope to see you over at the travel blog,

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