The ‘Never’ List

  1. Have paper napkins at a picnic.
  2. Forget to water the lawn.
  3. Cut down mature trees.
  4. Stay up late to watch hockey.
  5. Need golf shoes.

Everyone probably has a short list of things that they really never imagined that they would do. When asked, the response would be, “No, I never really considered that.” The list above shows some of mine. All of which would still be on the ‘never’ list if we had not moved east of the Mississippi.

Being born and raised in Wyoming, my husband and I were of the notion that you 1) could not have a picnic without your plate (food and all) blowing into Nebraska; 2) need to water your grass daily; 3) plant a tree so that your great-grandchildren could finally climb its 20-foot majesty; 4) hunted. What’s hockey? Golf was only enjoyable for a window of six to eight weeks – tops.

Wyoming was home from the eastern plains where we both were born to the western high desert foothills. The enormous clear blue sky against the soft light olive color of the dry sagebrush provided the backdrop for our deep root growth in western Wyoming. We raised most of our family outside of the little town of Kemmerer in a home that we spent all of our time renovating. So our hearts and minds were firmly grounded in the west – or so we thought.

Moving eastward was going to the state line or (heaven forbid) eastern Colorado. The notion of relocation beyond those bounds only came briefly as I search advancement potential in my federal job. “What about Washington?” I queried my unsuspecting spouse.

“Huh?” his reply.


“Seattle? Too rainy.”

“No, D.C.”

“You have fun,” which was his response to places where he absolutely did not want to go. So when the door opened on advancement for his career and it took us beyond the imaginary geographical limits to the mysterious Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. we were into one more of the items on our ‘never’ list.

Sixteen years of growth in one place is difficult to uproot. Letting loose of the life-garden cultivated in that place creates a huge hole; the friendships, career, house, landscapes, and community left behind opens up an emptiness that is difficult to describe. (Or is it really a clean slate?)

Finding our home in West Virginia, we start to fill the hole again. Slowly, we’re learning the norms of the neighborhood, the cycles of the weather, and our vocation in this new place. – New item for the ‘never’ list: start a blog.



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