The leaving

by Jennifer on July 23, 2009

We’re getting ready to move soon, and I’m calling on my usual method of dealing with impending loss or separation: denial.

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.


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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Elisa July 23, 2009 at 3:33 am

Ah moving, it is such an emotional experience! Looking forward to new adventures, while at the same time missing the places and people in the old ones.

I hear you. Our plane leaves next Friday. And ironically, where am I spending my last weekend in NY? In Chicago. Goodbye, indeed.

V-Grrrl July 23, 2009 at 4:44 am

I love the way you describe time piling up and layering, something that suggests not only the landscape you’re leaving but our souls as we age. So much poetry between the lines.

Suzanne July 23, 2009 at 6:27 am

Take one of those long Thursday drives and find alone time to take it all in one last time. Have a nice cry for what you will miss and then a laugh for what you look forward to.
BTW I got here via Twitter so it really does work!

Daryl July 23, 2009 at 6:42 am

Wow .. its almost here after all the time and wonder of where you will land you know your destination and will make it your own .. travel safe and catch us up xox

skywind July 23, 2009 at 7:09 am

Leaves always lets the people be sad. Will have many times in ours life to leave. All leaves can become our eternal memory.
Healthy Life & Marvelous world

Cammie July 23, 2009 at 8:33 am

First of all, I love it when I see my email say “Thursday Drive”, which means I get to read a new post. Beautiful writing that makes me “think” and dig deeper into what your words mean to me.

I like the comment V-Grrrl left, I was thinking too about “changes” in life. How they shape who we are and we get to decide if we use these to begin again and make a fresh start. Although it is hard, each new place has treasures and some are harder to find than others, but they all have them and I am looking forward to hearing about your new adventures!

jan healzer July 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

If you wrote this it needs to be published in one of the magazines………. Very very good!
Where are you moving to?

Louise July 23, 2009 at 12:10 pm

The part about the mountains still being there and not really bothering with the fact you’re leaving makes me sad. I always want the things I love the most to be altered when I’m not there. Not in a bad way, but for me to be as much a part of them as they are of me.

Green Girl in Wisconsin July 23, 2009 at 12:52 pm

This is so lovely…I adore it when you wax poetic, Jennifer.

PAPA July 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm

I love the idea of getting lost “to findyourself back”…

It’s good to enjoy a good mystery.

jessica July 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

I have lived in many places each one filled with all that life has to offer. Joy sadness, love suprise and in the end I appreciate all the different experiences as they have made me who I am today

Enjoy the adventure. X0

Matt H, July 23, 2009 at 2:59 pm

Dont worry, the mountains will remember you. And they will always be there like old friends. Should you pass their way again they will greet you with warmth and generosity.

“The road goes ever on and on
Down from where it began
It leads us where? We dont know…
Takes us where we want to go
And we will not forget too soon
The valley of the moon”

Just a little sumthin I wrote many moons ago..
Seemed fitting.

Good luck. Your on another path of the great journey. Each destination is but a waypoint on the map of life.

Good thing we have GPS these days!!

Kellie C. July 23, 2009 at 6:42 pm

You all will be missed! It has/is nice to have you just down the road. So, if you have a chance before you go among all the craziness, give us a shout! IF you need anything, you know where we are at (at least we think we live there)….

Safe journey and enjoy the next chapter! Look forward to “checking” in on you each week!

Mrs. Schmitty July 23, 2009 at 6:59 pm

I’ve lived in the same area my whole life. I sometimes wish I could move to the other end of the world….just to say I did. But other times, I can’t imagine ever leaving.

Good luck with your move…and keep on driving!!

phd in yogurtry July 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm

It has worked out very well so far.

Your writing takes my breath away.

flutter July 23, 2009 at 10:33 pm

I already miss you. I love you, Jenn. Thank you for your voice, your inspiration, your humor. Thank you for letting me hang with your kids and hug you in person.

I am blessed to know you.

Madge July 24, 2009 at 4:29 am

this was inredible…..

apathy lounge July 24, 2009 at 6:00 am

Reading this just made me so very sad. Leaving is tough. Memories are like those tiny threads in Gulliver’s Travels…binding us to people and to places. Peace.

Coco July 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Oh, Jen. I know you’re only a blog post away, and we’ve never even met in person (yet!) but this makes me miss you.

Safe journey, bittersweet goodbyes, and a glorious fresh start to you all.

Chris July 24, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Moves are difficult. I’ve spent many years, both where you are leaving and where you are going. I know those mountains and those roads. I still miss them. I also still miss the lake and towns of my childhood in Indiana. And NOW I’m growing to love the mountains of Utah. I think Montana’s calling me next… I hope you have a peaceful transition.

Heather July 24, 2009 at 10:49 pm

I used to take drives like that a lot as a teen and young adult. Driving was so soothing to me. And it gave me wonderful thinking time.

Something tells me your future is bright. We never forget these wonderful places but we can find new wonderful places.

This sentence spoke to me, for whatever reason: These five years will lie quiet, one on top of the other, with all the others, settling.

Indigo July 25, 2009 at 5:49 am

I absolutely love upstate NY and the endless mountain region. I love the fact even in suburbia I can look outside and see those mountains in the horizon. Yet, you make me want to explore AZ and feel her, travel her roads for a while. Want to hear something even stranger…I just realized that’s where you are and my first book takes place there. I fell in love with the place researching it. Knowing it’s a part of you, I appreciate it even more than I could imagine. (Hugs)Indigo

Lilian Nattel July 26, 2009 at 9:38 am

That is a gorgeous photo. I clicked on it to see it enlarged. Awesome.

fancy feet July 26, 2009 at 11:36 am

“Just to feel.” I get that.

Lovely post. I wish you all the best in your move.

david mcmahon July 26, 2009 at 8:37 pm

A moving post, Jennifer, in more ways than one.

the mama bird diaries July 27, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Moving is so tough. We’ll be here. We aren’t going anywhere.

Sherry @ EX Marks the Spot July 28, 2009 at 4:52 am

All the best to you. Sometimes it is difficult to leave what is comfortable, isn’t it?

Sandi July 28, 2009 at 4:55 am

Beautifully written…moving is so emotional…take it one day at a time and good luck.

Debbie Davis July 28, 2009 at 6:39 am

Hi, I came over from David’s authorblog. Beautifully written post. Congrats on the Post of the Day Award! Best wishes to you.

Technobabe July 28, 2009 at 7:06 am

I’ve moved over 100 times and more to come. Once in awhile I would stay in one house 5 years but most times one or two years. The times that I stayed in an area and moved to different houses or apartments and was able to meet people it became more difficult to leave some nice people. But as soon and I got to the next place there would be more nice people to get to know. I wish you the best during your move. May you walk away from the current place (or drive away, smile) with joy and good memories and may you settle in at the new place with high hopes and high spirits and heart open to new adventures and friends. Hugs.

Sandi McBride July 28, 2009 at 7:22 am

I always did the same…grieved over the home I was about to leave, anticipated the new one down the road…at long last I’m settled in the last place I’ll live…I hope! Congrats on Post of the Day!

Pseudo July 28, 2009 at 8:02 am

Beautiful, exquisite post. It connected deeply wth my feelings this summer of rock fever, of the yearning for a road trip, for homesickness for the mountains where I grew up.

Craig Glenn July 28, 2009 at 8:47 am

Beautifully written and moving as usual. Congrats on POTD!


Willow July 28, 2009 at 9:38 am

You have expressed so well the feelings. The loss, sadness, excitement for a new place. You can’t go somewhere new without a sense of loss, no matter how small. There have been times I’ve wiped the dust of a place off my feet, but when I look back from now I still wonder, what if…

Congrats on POTD. Well deserved.

Joanna Jenkins July 28, 2009 at 11:37 am

Hi, Just stopped by from David McMahon’s to day hello.

Your post is lovely!!!

Good luck with your move. I’ll be back again soon.

Suzanne July 28, 2009 at 11:42 am

Have a great trip girl…..we look forward to seeing the view from the new place.

Deborah Leon July 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

The best part about this sort of drive are the mental snap shots you will take, remember and romanticize later. The pictures that will always stay in the foreground 5 years form now verses the ones that will fade to the background. I love driving and getting lost. Oh the new adventures that await you. I’ve been living in South Bay California for over 20 years and still haven’t exhausted the roads of travel. Blessings on your new move, travels and memories.
Fair Winds and Calm Seas

Introspection July 28, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Hi Jennifer,
Your post is beautiful…!! And it IS the POTD, but will remain in my memory for many more days. I totally identify with you.
” 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.” You are so right ! you will like many things at your new place, but these mountains will keep recurring in your mind’s vision: that is when you will experience pangs and pangs of sadness. It’s almost as beutiful as being her: this sadness. Sometimes I feel I dont want to get over some beautiful places coz there is so much of myself attached to it. I just want to hang on to it. Be in a state of denial as you put it. But hey, when one door closes another one opens up..!!! so cheer up. Anjoy your glory at POTD. Congratulations.
Cheers!!! to your new destination!

Introspection July 28, 2009 at 9:00 pm

my apologies for some typos…!!

moannie July 29, 2009 at 8:11 am

Yes,it’s true, leaving is sad…you’ve settled made friends absorbed the the mountains into your blood, but to where? Somewhere new and exciting, new frriends new scents and a new sense of belonging.

Lovely post…and so worthy of your POTD award from David, another gift from him to us.

tysdaddy August 2, 2009 at 7:53 am

I moved eighteen times before graduating from high school, so I know how moving goes. Each place had its moments, and I’m grateful for each one of them. You’ll find a road that suits you here in the land of corn, I’m sure . . .

Good “seeing” you again, after a very long blogging hiatus . . .

Jason August 3, 2009 at 9:48 am

This is a great humor blog you have yourself. Found you from the Bloggess, and I would like to exchange links with you. I have a humor blog myself as you can see. Let me know if this is possible.


kingofnewyorkhacks August 3, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Good luck with the move . The journey is always fun…best of luck.

Texasholly August 7, 2009 at 9:25 pm

I have been through that kind of denial many times. I think it is a good place to rest. It really is the feelings that will be a part of you.

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