One day while I was walking my grocery cart to its parking lot bin, I heard a voice remark, “Sometimes you have to walk a way to do the right thing.” Another woman was commenting on the additional distance we had undertaken to deliver our carts to their rightful spot on the scorching asphalt. The words caught me by surprise because, truthfully, I had been lost in thought, unaware of her presence. After being jolted back to reality, I smiled, nodded and wandered back to my car, puzzled by the curious comment about “walking away to do the right thing.” Not until I began my journey home did I realize my mistake, which left me both amused and musing about the brief encounter.
A few months ago, I wrote about “leaving the nest”, and it appears that matters of “leaving” or “walking away” continue to populate my mind and life. Recently, some of my dearest friends called to say they were moving to Seattle, a mere 2,000 miles away. Even though they currently live 846 miles away, we have had reasons to be in the same state or the same city on occasion. Unfortunately, I have no reasons for traveling to what I call “the Great Northwest”—yet. I am working on coming up with some, as well as the required travel funds. It was either that or cry.
In the midst of absorbing the news of my friends’ upcoming departure, I’ve also been “riding herd” over my youngest son’s college admission activities. His senior year will soon commence, and our goodbyes are rapidly approaching. This time my nest will be truly empty. Strangely enough, I have another son that will be graduating from law school in the coming year, who, too, is considering a move to “parts unknown” to begin his new professional career. I suppose my current reflections may be preliminary preparations for all these pending “farewells.”
“Leaving”, “walking away”, “saying goodbye”---I believe I’m only beginning to comprehend how often and in how many ways we do this in a lifetime; and in turn, how utterly mixed the accompanying circumstances and emotions may be. Some leavings are temporary, some seemingly forever; but while each holds a certain sadness, many bring forth a feeling of joy and gratitude—joy for the opportunities afforded the loved ones, gratitude for those who have made it possible, and sometimes, as in these instances, a truer understanding of how “leavings” may form life anew.
A Postscript: A few months ago, while perusing a copy of Somerset Studio’s winter edition, I became captivated by Becky Shander’s beautiful feather canvases. Since that time, I’ve wanted to fashion some similar pieces of my own, a few gift cards utilizing some of the delicate dove feathers that fill our landscape. This post’s reflections about “taking flight” provided the perfect impetus for doing so.