When the movers came to pack up our stuff so that we could move to Tucson, one of them tucked his pants into his socks. He was afraid of the spiders in the garage and that they might crawl up his pants legs.
Another said, “Aren’t you afraid living here?”
“Afraid?” I said, “What would I be afraid of.”
“Well, the bears!” she said. “And all the wildlife! Isn’t it scary living here?”
It had never crossed my mind to be afraid of the wildlife, except for that one night I caught a persistent raccoon trying to open the sliding screen door. He was almost in when I slammed it and the sliding glass door shut. It was kind of spooky to me when he ran around the house banging on all the doors after that. But other than that one time, I’d never been afraid.
Driving down the road to our new house in Tucson is a different story. I’ve been a little afraid from time to time. I haven’t lived in town for over 20 years, and our new house is smack dab in the middle of Tucson. There are people everywhere, and to me, people can be scarier than any bear I’ve ever chased across the lawn and into a tree. Then there’s the traffic. There are a lot more big streets in Tucson, and a lot more cars on them. And did I mention the bobcats? In the middle of town, bobcats are roaming, eating mice, rabbits, and the occasional cat or small dog. It’s something to get used to for us and our cat, Molly.
It’s funny how things can seem scary, just because they’re new or different. There’s even research that shows how the stress of a new place can make us more susceptible to toxins in foods, and even to the effects of alcohol. Fred Provenza always used to say that if you want to get drunk as cheaply as possible you should go to a bar you’ve never visited before. That fear of new things is why cows and people too choose to eat familiar foods, and probably why cows keep hanging out by the gate when you drop them in a new pasture. All they want is to go “home.”
There have been a couple of times since we got to our temporary quarters here in Tucson that I’ve thought, “I just want to go home,” even though I know that “home” as it used to be, doesn’t exist anymore. So, like a cow joining a new herd, or a sheep a new flock, I’ve been counting on the experience of those around me to smooth the transition. I’ve met our new neighbors and they’re showing us where to shop and helping us find the best restaurants. Fortunately, I’ve also spent enough time here visiting my parents that many of the roads are familiar, and I have my iPhone buddy, Siri, to help me navigate to unfamiliar places. And Molly the cat? Well she’s somehow figured out when the bobcat is visiting at our temporary quarters, and refuses to go out. So I think we’re all going to be ok.
I’ve got new places to forage, new watering holes, and by the end of this week, the movers will have dropped off our stuff and I’ll have my same old bed and all the comforts of home around me. We’ll be home, and have a lot less to worry about!