I discovered Habitat, the Audubon sanctuary in Belmont, soon after I took on a full-time job here after having my own freelance business for 13 years. That first year, I commuted 45 miles each way from my condo in a semi-rural town, where I used to take long walks every day past acres of farm land and woods. Although Belmont is a lovely town with some well-appointed homes (Mitch Romney lived here when he was governor), most of the area, even in Belmont, is more densely packed and urban than where I was living. But after languishing as a single woman out in the hinterlands for so long, I craved the urban life with all its culture and activity. I soon grew tired of commuting and, after a year, the opportunity to move close to work arose and I emptied my condo, rented it out, and moved to the big city, or at least near the big city. Still, over the years, Habitat has offered an antidote to urban overload and has also provided a haven from the stress of my job, a place where I went to grieve my mother's passing and other heartbreaks, to delight in nature, and to ground myself in the natural world. Just a 20-minute walk from the office, its woods and meadows a hidden treasure.
Habitat was the first place I went to on Monday after getting laid off from my job. Yup, although I have been looking to leave for a long time, they beat me to it and booted me along with six coworkers on Monday. Since then, I've been busy letting my former freelance clients know that I'm available again, updating my resume and LinkedIn profile, and fielding lots of emails from former colleagues, both those still there and others who have gone before me and find themselves happier than ever. I still have to go into the office tomorrow to bring back my keycard and sign paperwork, but otherwise it's over. I do feel freed, although of course there is the issue of money to worry about.
Walking around the trails on Monday afternoon, I realized I didn't have to rush. I could stay and enjoy it as long as I pleased. There was noplace I had to be. There was also a strange sense of having been uprooted from my home and deposited, or maybe chewed up and spit out, washed up on this strange shore, not sure where to go but at least with my feet under me again.