Road to Ithaca

by flowers on August 19, 2011 · 10 comments

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Three and half year ago when Sol was a chubby three year old, Koala was just a few months old and Nila Bindu was but a star in the heavens, we traveled to Ithaca with big dreams and a sparkle in our eyes.

We knew we wanted to live in a vibrant community that valued music, fresh food, environmental integrity and sustainability and we took action to get it. We drove through the night in our beloved veggie-powered Volkswagon Jetta and arrived at our newly purchased first-home just before dawn.

Our relatives could not understand why we’d leave the support of our extended family system; our friends thought we were crazy for picking up and moving to a town for what they perceived as “no good reason.”

For us–making a conscious decision to improve the quality of our life experience was the best reason that could ever exist, but we understand that this was hard for those who love us.

It was exhilarating to watch western Massachusetts turn into the back roads of rural New York. We made our pilgrimage, through field and farm, to make our new home in ten square miles of vibrant culture and community.

And things worked. Stone installed stonework for a local nursery and with the rental income we had what we needed. Our living space was small, but with just one toddler and a tiny baby we didn’t need much space. We didn’t know many people so we spend our free time taking long walks and having casual afternoon coffee on our front veranda.

It was heaven. We had arrived.


Almost four years later we’re just back home to Ithaca after spending six weeks in suburbs of Massachussetts. We buried my grandmother, played at the seashore, spent time at camp and settled in so the kids could get to know their extended family.

As we trekked back to Ithaca, satisfied and sun-kissed by summer, on a road now well worn, I realized something had changed. We arrive back to many friends, a full plate of commitments and a house that is much too small for a bouncing family of three active and loud children and two home-based businesses.

The excitement has worn off in this present moment. The newness is gone.

When we first arrived we were actively dreaming up our intended lifestyle. We were a young family looking at a blank canvas. Now we are deep into the everyday living of home and business management, family living and homeschooling.

It feels life appropriate. It would be exhausting to live in a constant state of wide-eyed new-ness and life is meant to move and shift so that we experience a full range of emotions and experiences. This change makes perfect sense in the rational mind can also feel uncomfortable as we shift and settle.

It’s like a marriage. When the honeymoon is over you realize the most important thing is that you respect each other and are committed to making it work– even when things aren’t shiny and new anymore. Your relationship evolves and it takes active participation to stay in a healthy, thriving space.

There are still glorious Ithaca moments: concerts on the lake, amazing friends around every corner and sunlit gorges where we swim and hike. But the sparkle has settled and we’re readjusting ourselves. We’re not new anymore and we’ve certainly grown. It feels like it’s time to adjust our lifestyle to match our growth.

It’s been a journey. And, just like promised, the road to Ithaca has been long and full of adventure.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Miranda August 19, 2011 at 4:54 am

OR, you could move away for a while, and then move back! When we get back, it will be my fifth time moving to Ithaca. But I am ready to let the shine wear off and grow into the place, for good. Good luck adjusting!


flowers August 19, 2011 at 9:53 am

There’s definitely a part of me that is happy to let the newness wear off and really settle in, but for some reason these past few months have been full of reflection on the way were then and how we are now.

We hope to travel more at some point, but I don’t think we’ll ever move unless there is something radically alters our intentions.


Rashel August 19, 2011 at 7:27 am

It sounds like a move to a bigger home is in your future … Or something exciting!


flowers August 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

Oh, Rashel, I’m crossing my fingers. I can’t wait to get into a bigger home. I think I might have to wait a little while longer, but that’s okay :-)


Kelly August 19, 2011 at 8:04 am

Hillary- it’s nice to hear your voice again and how true your words are, “Your relationship evolves and it takes active participation to stay in a healthy, thriving space.”

I hope you get to stay where you love and find more space :)


flowers August 19, 2011 at 9:54 am

Thanks Kelly. I appreciate your presence and your words.

I hope so too.


mb August 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

beautiful sentiments, hillary. i think i might be in a similar place right now- i am setting down deeper roots in this community (where i had set my intentions on living years ago) all the time and feel no desire to leave but experiencing the less than shiny side at times. also, your post at steady mom today is ringing very true for me, as i am feeling very far behind in absolutely every area of life. :) trying to stay present and last night i just walked in the woods in spite of everything else that needs doing. it was the right choice. also, a big hug about grandma, it’s interesting because last night i was meditating on the grandmotherness of the energy around me in those woods, something that always brings me solace when i am nearing a meltdown. i was gathering nettles (whom i always address as grandmother) and then encountered these big stands of yarrow that felt the same way, like they were putting out protective nana-ness. anyway, i still miss both of mine, after a long long stretch of years, and i know your loss is still very fresh, so i send my love and sympathy.


flowers August 19, 2011 at 2:56 pm

“trying to stay present and last night i just walked in the woods in spite of everything else that needs doing. it was the right choice. ”

Stone keeps encouraging me to meditate which I’ve been resisting since I have so much to do, but yesterday while I was laying Nila down for a nap I meditated instead of letting my mind run away with itself.

It was such a relief and brought some real clarity.

Thanks for your kind words and wisdom.


Jupiter August 20, 2011 at 8:24 pm

I can see how someone could be smitten with Ithaca when it’s all fresh and new :-) Best of luck to you finding your new adjustments.


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