Monday, December 19, 2011

Cohabiting with my Wife

Yesterday I moved in with my wife (at least temporarily).

Though Ma'ikwe and I have been married nearly five years, we've been living separately. When we first got together romantically (fall '05) she was living in Albuquerque, which was 900 miles from my bed at Sandhill. For the first 15 months of our marriage there were some non-trivial logistics to navigate if I wanted a date night with my wife.

In the summer of '08, however, things got a lot easier when she and her son, Jibran, moved to the same zip code as me. She joined Dancing Rabbit, which is only three miles from Sandhill. While I understand that three miles away is not the same as sharing a bedroom, it was nonetheless 300 times better than Albuquerque and allowed, for the first time, some degree of spontaneity about when we were in the same room. Much better. Now when I'm on the road (which is 60% of the time) I'm thinking about getting back to Ma'ikwe, rather than about how to get to her.

Better still, building on our shared interest in community networking and group process work, about half the time I'm on the road Ma'ikwe is traveling with me, on which occasions I don't dwell on missing her at all!

As a significant part of her settling into life at DR, Ma'ikwe has built a house (although it's not really complete, it's far enough along to be a cozy in cold weather), and this winter we're trying the experiment of my living here instead of at Sandhill. For the next quarter, I'll be waking up next to my wife every day (excepting three weeks of travel when we'll be apart)—an experience we haven't had since our honeymoon.

Will I miss Sandhill this winter? Yes, but not as much as you might think.
—For one thing, I'll be on the road seven of the 13 weeks (which is about normal for me), and when I'm away it doesn't make a lot of difference where my "official" bedroom is.

—My longest block of time in Missouri is the three weeks stretching form now through Epiphany (that's Jan 6 if you having trouble locating semi-obscure Christian holidays on your calendar). During the entirety of those three weeks I'll be going over to Sandhill every Mon, Wed, and Fri to pinch hit for Emily Hall (who handles orders in the FIC's Missouri Office) while she enjoys a deserved holiday with her family back East. It may be next year before anyone at Sandhill notices that I'm not sleeping in my room.

—Sandhill's annual retreat is queued up for Feb 5-8, and that means I'll be migrating home for four days of annual planning and renewal.

All and all, I'm fairly confident that folks at Sandhill will still remember what I look like when the crocuses emerge.

I arrived yesterday in time to attend DR's regular Sunday WIP (week in preview), when all members are asked to gather in the common house to coordinate schedules. This full ensemble
choreography is a logistical imperative for a group of 60-odd (and believe me, it is 60 odd) cultural creatives who manage their lives with a fleet of only three vehicles and with most days embellished with one or two opportunities to indulge in specialized social configurations. It's nearly impossible to keep it all in line without a whip, I mean a WIP. To give you a flavor of this, in the coming week residents will have the chance to partake in any of the following (and I'm probably dropping a stitch or two):

o Spiritual gathering—Sun eve (where those interested in spiritual inquiry take turns leading the exploration of their choice)
o Dance party—Sun eve (celebrating the arrival of new residents Craig & Kim)
o Meditation followed by yoga—Mon, Tue, Wed morning
o Kirtan—Mon eve (chanting accompanied by a harmonium)
o Potluck at Sandhill—Tue dinner
o Song circle—Wed eve
o Solstice celebration—Thu eve
o Community dinner—Fri dinner (households bring their own food and eat together in the common house)
o Cody's 6th birthday party—Sat noon
o Xmas Eve at the Milkweed Mercantile—Sat eve
o Xmas movies—TBA
o Cookie exchange—TBA

And by the way, Blues Dancing (a regular Mon eve offering) was cancelled because Rachel & Tony will be traveling for the holidays. Whew. Mind you, this is just the all-skate opportunities. Never mind the myriad
tête-à-têtes, small group private get-togethers, and the bewildering array of committee meetings. When do people sleep?

When it came to the portion of the WIP where announcements were made about arrivals and departures for the week, Alline (the impresario cum herald for the day) announced that Laird was "beginning his cohabitation with Ma'ikwe." Fortunately, everyone smiled—which I took as a happy mixture of bemusement with Alline's turn of phrase, and vicarious joy with the turn toward communion on behalf of Ma'ikwe's marriage.

At this point, I'm expecting to return to my regularly scheduled Sandhill life after the vernal equinox, yet that decision hasn't been made yet. (That's what it means to label what we're doing an "experiment.") We won't make that call until all the data has been collected and its meaning has been massaged. While I won't have to face that particular fork in the road until March, it's a pleasure knowing that both paths are likely to lead to good things.

No comments: