Just over a month to go. 38 days from now, I will pull out of my driveway and begin what promises to be a very long, adventuresome road … one filled with many stops and many new friends. I’ve often said that this ‘journey before the journey’ is an interesting psychological self-study and I wonder how I will feel on that day … slowly backing down 80’ of gravel, knowing that chances are slim I will return to this town, or this state. At least not until the final road takes what remains of me to a tiny cemetery just south of Geneva. With 38 days to go, the goodbyes begin.
And so it was that a friend came to visit yesterday. A friend I’ve known now for about 12 years, and one who has seen me through many times of laughter, and many times of tears. Through jobs and moves and boyfriends and fat and thin. Through good times and bad times. He had come to pick up a guitar he’d loaned me a few years ago … and to sit with me, yakking for hours over what may well be our last dinner together. He got a burger, I got the cheese steak. “Not as good as Five Guys,” he said. “You’ll have to make sure you go there before you leave town … they really are the best.” No, we’re not going to solve world hunger or stop wars with the conversation, but rather we’re doing what we’ve always done, simply enjoying the time together as two friends who know each other well, without the need to make every word unerringly important. What was important was that we were there, together … now. Later we poured sparkling hard cider and toasted to a long an exciting journey ahead. And to friendship. The words grew fewer and further apart. I handed him a crate of photos for safekeeping and his guitar, and walking to the door I stopped to gather a crow feather from the bare bookshelves. I told him to hold onto it, as even though not a Raven, they are my cousins … and with it, he could close his eyes and see me flying free on the road ahead. He gave me hug and kiss on the cheek, and we walked to the car in silence. More hugs, these now held a little longer. I hope to see him again one more time before leaving the state … possibly a short stay at his camp in the mountains … but watching him drive away, I realized that the time for goodbyes had now come. The house and contents are sold, notice has been given at work, the first part of the trip is mapped and planned … only the packing remains.
New friends and new adventures, and new places & experiences await. Life is an amazing journey and the excitement of all that is to come brings a continual grin to my face. Just 38 days and it all begins. Still, standing alone in the driveway yesterday, I felt the hollow ache of goodbye.