Settling In

by nicolecallihan

Growing up, my mom taught me to never own any more than would fit in the car. This was back when we measured our life in toothpaste tubes: we had lived in such-and-such town for two toothpaste tubes; in another, for only half a tube.

It strikes me this morning how much I’ve failed. Between old typewriters and tea kettles, books and plants, gumball machines and lamps–sometimes I don’t even know if I can fit it all in my home! Maybe this is what it means to settle in, settle down. It’s not nearly as frightening (or dull or tedious) as I imagined it would be.

I roll the word on my tongue: settle. It makes me think of the sound that hangs in the air of an empty room just after the phone stops ringing; of bulbs planted in the fall; of down feathers and dreams half-remembered and turning the pillow in the middle of the night to find the cool side.