Yesterday, we helped our son move into his new apartment.
It was a two-hour drive, one way, half of it along an interstate highway with high cross-winds, and skiers blasting past us at warp speed. We did all right until Chris pulled over -- in an area with no shelter -- and started tugging at stuff in the back of his truck. I kept waiting for him to be blown over the railing and off the side of the cliff. (I have a lurid imagination.) Turned out that the lid on one of his totes was about to blow off (how he knew that from the cab, I have no idea), and he wanted us to load it into our car. My husband persuaded him to drive up to the next exit, where we found a pull-out and completed the transfer in a lot more safety than we would have at the top of a mountain.
For that's where we were: In the mountains. Climbing steadily. I had always thought the White Mountains were just in the eastern part of the state, but nope -- they're all over the North Country. And Chris, as we found out, will be living in the middle of them. Enfield, pop. 5,000, is about halfway up one mountain, right on Lake Mascoma, which means nothing at this time of year, but I bet he'll be grateful for that proximity come next summer. And Chris's new apartment is on the second floor of a carriage house, right on Main Street. Two doors down from the library, right across the street from the police station, with a convenience market on the corner and a laundromat down the end of the block. He had a lot of conveniences in Lansdale, but Lansdale wasn't rural. This is.
It took us just half an hour to unpack most of his worldly possessions: a couple of tables, his towels, sheets and blankets, a bookcase, dishes, pots and pans, and a futon mattress that we lent him so he'd have something to sleep on. Pretty meager to start with. But the place gets wonderful sunshine and has good cross-ventilation. All his utilities are included in the rent. It's also a very masculine apartment, with a lot of wood trim and a neutral off-white paint on the walls. He says the landlord will allow him to hang "pictures" -- in Chris's case, this means icons, and he already has the perfect spot picked out for them on his bedroom wall, which is the only part of the apartment that faces east.
Before we left, I sprinkled the place with holy water. He has yet to settle into a parish, though there's one about 25 miles away, and considering that he'll probably visit us at least half the time, I'm not sure how established he will become in that parish, so I'm not sure if the priest will come out and do a house blessing this far into Lent. But that is one of his plans, once he gets a fairly stable schedule -- last week he worked nights, this week he's working days. I hope to heaven he can make that 10-mile drive up the mountain without falling asleep at the wheel on his night shifts.
Meanwhile, it's so good to see him smiling again.