Goodbye, Pacific Northwest
This is a week of goodbyes. I’m saying goodbye to the ocean, goodbye to summer, goodbye to the Pacific Northwest, not to mention goodbye to my girlfriend.
And it isn’t easy.
I’ve been in the Pacific Northwest just long enough to fall in love with it, just long enough that it’s lulled me into thinking it’s home. And while Colorado calls, Washington’s coastline and the magnetic waves that crash upon it tug at my compass needle, too.
“Stay for a while,” say these ancient forests, in their mossy, wisdom-oozing baritone, “and put some roots down.”
Maybe someday I will. But not now, now, it’s time to go, I know it. My internal alarm clock is impatient, sputtering like a neglected tea kettle. The air is crisp, the leaves are turning, the snowboard magazines have arrived in my mailbox—all signs point to winter, all signs point to the road, all signs point back to Colorado.
A few things I’ll be missing…
I’m itching to return to the Rockies, but pulling up and saying sayonara isn’t easy. The comfort of familiarity, starting to make friends and build a community, learning the ins and outs of a place—these things make it hard to leave.
As I pack the car, I remind myself: the ocean will always be there, summer will come again, and the next time I see my girlfriend will be in just a couple of months.
We both have a layover in JFK en-route to Colombia. I imagine grinning uncontrollably when I see her, radiant as always despite hours of travel and the drabness of the airport, and how sweet it will be to say “hola.” The happiest people in terminal 4.
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
You know, it’s absence that makes me so excited to return to Colorado in the first place, too—this is the longest chunk of time I’ve spent away from the state in almost 7 years. I just signed an eight month lease in Crested Butte, an idyllic little mountain town that’s been on my mind since I first saw it, and right now, in the midst of my nomadic ramblings, eight months feels like forever.
I’m stoked to spend that seemingly infinite eight months in Crested Butte. Yet, I know that when May comes around, I’ll wonder if I should dust off the goodbyes again. Maybe I’ll want to put roots down in Crested Butte. Or maybe I’ll dream of returning to say hello to this Pacific Northwest coastline, or introducing myself to a faraway land I’ve never met before.
Alas, there is simply no way to forecast the winds of the soul. Sometimes we just have to unfurl the sails and catch a ride where we can.
Certainly, there’s something to be said about putting down roots, but there’s also something to be said about bouncing around until you’re compelled to. And something to be said about ripping them out of the ground when the wind blows.
So I’m pulling up what fledgling roots I’ve put down in Washington, and riding that sacred jet stream back to Colorado.
And as I say goodbye to people and places I love, I’m doing my best to relish the bittersweet nature of the word, knowing that if we never say goodbye, then hello is just another ritual, a plastic pleasantry—flavorless, hollow, and void of meaning.
Anyways, here goes.
Goodbye. Until next time. I’ll miss you.