I can’t think about saying goodbye to my friends, so I sort through other, smaller goodbyes ahead of that. Not to soften those moments (impossible), but to give them the whole stage when it’s time.
As I drive around, these last few weeks, making as few trips in this heat as I can get away with, I’ve been trying to look around at the views that I will miss. To take in, bone deep, what I’ve grown so used to seeing. Red Mountain, Superstition Mountain, Four Peaks. All the mountains that ring the Valley, especially the ones to the east that carry thunderheads on their backs every afternoon in this part of summer, promising rain and usually giving dust storms and dry, hot wind instead. These mountains have been so much a part of the landscape of these last five years here, and of me. I will miss them, probably more than I’m willing to let myself know.
I can almost feel them leaving me. Or me leaving them, is how it goes. Because, really? They’re all, “We’ve been here millions and millions of years, lady. Happy trails!” Guess they’ve just forgotten that I know them well, that the roads that weave through them are the roads that have knit together my soul these last few years, that saved me in so many ways. This girl who wasted a lot of very expensive gas, driving north to Payson more Thursdays than not, just to feel those miles pass under me. Just to feel the engine dig down a little on the steep parts, the way we do, when life calls for it. Just to feel the wind through my hair, just to feel the lift in my spirits.
Just to feel.
As if that kind of memory goes away. Where would it go?
So maybe there’s not as much leaving as I thought. These five years will lie quiet, one on top of the other, with all the others, settling. Laughter into sadness, light into heavy, day curling over the edges of moon-blessed night, pain into excitement, spring soaking into summer, holidays brushing against quiet Sundays, roads intersecting with roads. Year one into year two into year three and four and five.
The sum of the days and moments countable and incalculable, at once.
And so we’ll take on what’s next, with the same enthusiasm and curiosity that served us well here.
And I’ll do what I always do when I move somewhere new – take time here and there to get in the car and drive, to get lost on purpose, just to see if I can find my way back.
It’s worked out pretty well so far.