I write that with a question mark because in the last week or so I've had several opportunities to talk to new folks in the neighborhood and found myself sounding, much to my surprise, like the source of local wisdom. "We've been here for over two years now..." I always say, because in the military world that is quite a respectable chunk of time to spend in one place.
Don and I have been married for five years now, with one year together spent in civilian life and four in the Coast Guard. In that time we have lived in 3 states and 4 houses. The fact that we will easily be here longer than all the other places combined makes two years seem like a long time indeed.
In the last few months we've spent a good deal of time bemoaning the idea of spending another two years in this same tiny house in this same rural outpost of a community. It is not that we don't like it here, because we very much do, but we have gotten used to regular change and are ready to move on. Or, more accurately, ready to begin working towards finding the place where we will settle more permanently. It is difficult to ever feel truly at home in a location when you know you will only be there for 3-4 years.
However, as I've found myself sharing with newcomers about where the best playgrounds are, or the dates for the County Fair or consignment sale, or the best way to get to the city, I realize it does take time, much more time than simply the few weeks to get boxes unpacked and pictures hung, to even begin to feel settled in a community.
These pictures were taken yesterday at the "Amazing Park" (as Amy calls it). This is a HUGE, beautiful, shady, wonderfully well-designed playground that we recently discovered. It is a public park, right in the middle of the county seat, but it is one of those places so tucked away that it is only learned about from word of mouth. Somehow our three visits to this park have made me feel more settled in this area than anything else yet.
And with that in mind, we will be looking forward to our third annual visit to the County Fair this weekend, and are hoping to make our third annual trip to the National Aquarium for Amy's birthday (in six weeks my girl will be 3! oh my!). We have already cruised through our third summer, and have made (some) plans for our third round of holiday travels, and are shifting into our third "off" season at the station. Our dearest dear friends will be moving in the spring, and now is the time to allow our rolling stones to gather a little moss and enjoy this feeling of being settled while it lasts. Soon enough we will be off on our next adventure.