This afternoon, Billie and I sat and caught up for a bit.
We had this great week together — transitioning from Texas to Colorado then to Utah in a matter of 10 days or something. On every leg of the drive, this little gal was buckled up in her new travel cage. It wasn’t until after 3 days or so of driving that I realized her cage was so low, she couldn’t see out of the windows much. That was probably ideal; the experience of being a passenger in a car must be exceedingly bizarre and stressful for a captive little tropical bird. Anyhow, on our last leg from Colorado to Utah, driving along I-70 through the mountain passes and canyons, I deemed Billie emotionally capable to handle the reality and absurdity of traveling cross country, going impossibly fast, through all new (to her) terrain. I propped her cage up a foot or so (still buckled obvi), so she had an unobstructed view out the windshield and windows.
It was the sweetest several hours, driving through those vistas. Coasting through mountain hair pins, each looming mountain making way for another, the early morning light casting contrast and illumination and magic. And each time a new view came in sight, I’d be leaned forward over my steering wheeling, grinning, and Billie would whistle or chirrup or poof her feathers.
Since we arrived in Utah, I haven’t given Billie as much attention. I gave her cage a lot of attention, with a full sanitization and cleaning, and re-establishing her toys and nooks in their familiar spots. But once I got her re-homed in her clean palace in the living room, I’ve been off doing other things. Unpacking what feels like an impossible amount of stuff. Cleaning out the workshop. Hanging art, placing plants, starting my business.
She’s been quiet in her new home. She can’t speak, so I can’t know for sure, but I feel like she’s just taking time to process all the change. She’s spent two days pretty much in one area of the cage, then another day in a different part. Being social and friendly and eating—she seems healthy, just quiet, contemplative. There is a non-zero chance that I’m like 100% projecting all of this on her, who the hell knows. We try our best, we pet parents, but we never really know.
In my own head, I’ve been a little off balance. I know Salt Lake is where I want to be, and I genuinely love our new home and I feel 100% confident I’m doing what I should be doing. And yet I’ve felt detached from my happiness, floating through unpacking and running errands with quiet observation. I’ve been moody. I’ll be walking through Home Depot and I just get dosed with this big ol’ SAD. It’s such a pure feeling, it’s almost comical. It’s the kind of sad that makes me hang my head, and shuffle my feet, and take big sighs. A cartoon labeled “sad”, that is me, at least once a day, for an hour or so.
Nate’s been great. I’ve been pretty communicative about what I’m going through and I try to tell him when I’m feeling blue so that I don’t take it out on him. When he sees it start to creep up (every day so far between 10am and 2pm lol), he goes “OH SYD” in this funny sweet voice, and throws his arms all the way around me and kind of gives me a little shake. And it makes me laugh, and it makes me feel seen and understood.
I get these low spots, which come in waves, but even the happy spots feel like I’m watching them through a fogged pane. The fog is in the shape of heat and humidity, and the smell of jasmine, and the alleyways in the Heights that I love to wander (highly recommend). It’s in the shape of walking through the front door at Silver Street, and it’s in the shape of my old coworkers, my neighbors, and my friends, and my little apartment. It’s knowing my streets and where to turn, having my favorite ‘spots’ for coffee and sitting, and it’s running into people I know. I miss y’all big.
Day by day, the fog is lifting, even in this short amount of time. I’m finding joy in exploring my yard, in cleaning my workshop, in watching/getting to know my neighbors (favorite hobby). I’m finding joy (and lots of failure) in learning SLC’s impressively handy grid-system geography. I’ve been making full use of my sweaters (which got zero use in Houston). I’m marveling at the mountains. I’m meeting up with my sister, which is so great, and meeting up with friends. Something that Sydney in her early 20s didn’t understand was the value in having people you know and love in a new city, and I am lucky to have quite a few here.
I’m also learning how the hell to start a business, and trying to figure out how I communicate about it it to you and to everybody (this gives me the feeling of stage fright lol). I’m puzzling through electrical issues in my workshop, and planning how it’ll be organized-- it's gotta be organized. I’m packing my summer schedule with work, and visits from friends, and climbing. I’m keeping busy, but not so busy that I’m not feeling it all.
Salt Lake, and our new house, doesn’t feel like home yet, but it will.
So anyhow. Billie and I caught up today. I parked my chair next to her cage, and we listened to the outside noises, and noticed how they were different from the noises back in Houston home. We looked out the window and wondered if the squirrels here were the same ones as back in Texas (they followed us here, Billie is certain). I gave her scritches, and she gave me love nips, and we recommitted to opening our hearts to this new place.