Yesterday was my birthday. David’s is next Monday. (We are the same age but he likes to think of himself as the younger man.) This year we both have a special reason for celebration. Our new house is finished and we will be moving in on the weekend. In the evening, we walked down to the block for the second time that day. The builders were still there, staying late to work on all the small things still needing to be done. “Ducks on the pond”, one called, for perhaps the last time.
They left us to lock up and we lingered to wander through the empty rooms. Afterwards, I stood at the picture window in the gallery, watching the eucalypts lining the river as they danced in the wind of a summer thunderstorm that had just descended into the valley. My heart swelled with emotion. The builders have done a wonderful job and it is a beautiful house that I hope we can enjoy together for many years. We are not in our first youth and time races for us now, but at that moment I felt that “the lovelier distance is ahead”. (As you can see, I’ve been dipping into Judith Wright. This is from The Moving Image.)
Just then, David called me to discuss the more immediate problem of how we were going to get back for tea. It had begun to rain in earnest and the walk is an 800 metre up-hill slog on a gravel road now slippery with rain. Luckily our neighbour and her daughter had come down in their car to feed the horses that they are having agisted in the paddock next door. We hitched a ride and settled down for the evening in our other home, its rooms made familiar by the overflow of our belongings. We have enjoyed living here but now it is time to move on.