this is my last day in santa barbara.
all my worldly possessions are packed up in my car, ready and waiting for the four hour trip north.
the sun is shining. the sky is radiant deep perfect blue.
aka perfect walk weather.
I have two and a half wide-open hours before I leave.
and I am sitting here writing instead of taking one last look at my dear friends or campus or the ocean or any of the other places I have loved so deeply for so long.
I am not very sad at all about leaving.
it is time.
yes. very strange.
a week ago I was thinking about sight and the leaving and the living and then the coming back. how your sight changes each time. how no matter how often you revisit a scene and linger there, looking long, breathing deep, committing the curves and angles and colors and faces and laughs to memory, there is always something hidden that emerges from the woodwork and reminds you of how little you actually know of this place and people.
I haven't even left yet but what I miss is not this place or these people but the way we lived, all the promise and the hope. the time when all things were new, before the tired repetition and reenactments of the old things. what fills me with sadness is not the leaving but this feeling I can't shake that I am not leaving much behind.
good thing, at least, that I am traveling to a far distant land where no one knows my name and where I can start all this over.
and yet a friend of mine told me some things: to stop running away before I run out of places to run to, and even though the grass may seem greener on the other side, it's only greener where you water it.
but the grass really is greener is England.
The road not taken is taken. Beyond the bend
it stretches on in the mind, well-traveled
as the one on which we set our feet.
An untold, imagined story
mingles with memory; actual
and possible paths cross and at each crossing
we pause, not to regret, but to remember
that to choose is to keep choosing.
The after-image of a face beyond a half-open door,
the felt warmth of a room beyond an uncrossed threshold,
the lingering sounds of a conversation that never happened,
leave their record, too, on the heart and in the bones:
fourth dimension of the life we choose and live.
You can lose what you never had--
mourn the unborn child,
the unspoken confession,
the friendship foreshadowed
that drifted away on the next tide.
You can lose what you only imagined having:
evening hours sipping wine over an open book;
walks that wind beyond the routes of responsibility,
the luxury of dailiness: "Oh, it's you again--
I wondered when you'd come."
The good-bye hard upon hello,
the embrace that renounces even as it receives,
the same breath caught in anticipation released
in resignation, confuse the opening heart.
By a strange mercy we are allowed
to practice the final paradox--to love and let go,
learning in each release to listen to the voice
that asks, "Do you see yet?" Do you see
how to love the wave already breaking
because it is a wave?
because it breaks?