Teri (far right) joins in a welcome ceremony for her new neighbours. Teri and her family moved to Treehouse Village to “live closer to nature, to community, to the things that we love.” (Photo by Treehouse Villager Shirley Robb.)
I looked up at the blue sky and bright sun as I stopped to take in the smell of the fresh-cut grass on the soccer field. “Look, let’s add this, mama.” Savor, my three-year-old son, handed me some seeds from the trees that surrounded the playground, to add to our mason jar of memories. I paused to take in the memory of bringing him here before he could walk, bundled up in his snowsuit. Now, he climbs up the “big kid” slide and finds his way down on his own.
We were creating our own “moving ritual” of visiting and honouring the places we love with gratitude and to collect mementos of each place – the playground, the duck pond, and our “secret spot”. We filled our mason jar with a handful of wood chips, seeds, flowers and leaves, and expressed gratitude for the experiences and memories we had made there.
Making space and place for ritual
The trajectory of my life has been formed by the impact of moving many times. I am all too familiar with the grief and transformation of transitions. As we move from the moments of long goodbyes, through the messy middle of purging and packing our life into boxes, arranging moving trucks and last appointments, it can be easy to get lost in that liminal space where the logistics and stress activate our survival mode.
A friend shared some resources on how to create ritual and ceremony in this moment of the messy middle. Inspired, we set out to find the space to pause and reflect upon the transition taking place. We spent the last moment in our home, the three of us – visiting each room and sharing a memory of the space that held our love. We recalled the moments where our son took his first steps, the table where we celebrated my birthday, the hallway where we’d run back and forth before bedtime.
We stood in each place, shared a memory, and said goodbye one last time to this house that had held our home.
What I’ve learned through my transient life is that home is where we make it. For me, it is in the people who are our community. It is with the lands and waters that carry us. One day, our son asked my partner, Ben, “Daddy, why do you want to move to Nova Scotia?” and Ben responded because it is a place where we can live closer to nature, to community, to the things that we love.
My heart ached thinking about what it would mean for this little human to move away from everything he’d ever known his entire life, into the unknown, and then realized there was grief in moving for myself, too. I’m grateful we found time to make space to mark the transition.
A place that already feels like home…
While I’ve moved many times before, I’ve never moved to a place that already felt like home. Our new beginning has been marked by the taste of the delicious plate of potluck food that awaited our arrival, the warm hugs and the abundance of warmth, generosity and connection offered by our new neighbours.
We look forward to closing this part of the transition and moving fully into this new beginning with our wonderful new community at Treehouse Village, as together we make this place our home.
Teri Brezner is an intercultural and multilingual facilitator, trainer, and coach fighting for a future with representative democracy, sustainable livelihoods, racial and social justice and a healthy planet.
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