No matter how organized we think we are, it’s always a tornado of activity: various appointments, projects on our trailer, maintenance on our home, and most important, spending time with good friends. Long walks, afternoon coffee, wine tasting, cozy dinners, playing music, creative projects, cutthroat games of Hearts, shoe shopping with my girlfriends (yes, really), deep conversations, and so much love and hilarity—we are blessed with extraordinary friends.
I’m grateful that no matter how many times we leave, we’re lovingly welcomed home. As we fall back into the familiar, comfortable embrace of our friends, our community, and the beauty of our town, I once again feel conflicted about leaving. This, too, is familiar. As much as I love adventure and travel and new experiences, I cherish community and relationships woven from years of shared experiences.
These are friends who have been with us through the best and the worst of life. It’s difficult to say goodbye, knowing that we’re missing out on the joys of sharing daily life, and it’s hard knowing that we’re not going to be there should life challenges arise. We have close friends who have experienced significant health crises in the past couple of years, and we haven’t been there to provide support in a tangible way.
To further complicate and enrich our lives, we’ve made deep and abiding friendships on Lopez Island, which has been our summer home for eight years. And in our travels, we’ve made “forever friends” with whom we stay connected, no matter how far-flung we all happen to be. And we have our families on opposite coasts. While our travels make it easier to spend time with everyone, it never seems like quite enough time with anyone.
There is so much we still want to do, and traveling fulltime is what suits us best for now. Time is speeding by, and the reality is that this is our window of opportunity in this lifetime to travel in this way.
Leaving our hometown was especially poignant this time because we won’t be circling back to Ashland next fall. We’ve set our sights on Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island next summer, followed by fall in New England. We won’t return to Ashland until late spring of 2020. That’s a long time away—and it’s also the blink of an eye.
We pulled out of town yesterday afternoon, heading for Florida via a leisurely route. We have lots of new adventures planned along the way before arriving at my folks’ home in early February. Meanwhile, I still have a few posts from the past to catch up on (so much for my intention to be caught up before leaving Ashland!).
We’ll be spending Thanksgiving in Point Reyes this year, a place we’ve been wanting to return to since our first visit back in 2015. On the menu are Apricot Glazed Cornish Hens, wild rice pilaf, roasted Brussels sprouts and yams, an arugula-orange salad, and my favorite Cranberry Chutney. It’s not Thanksgiving without that cranberry chutney, although with just the two of us, we’ll be eating it for a week.
Along with feasting and relaxing, we’ll walk on the foggy bluffs high above the ocean and allow gratitude for this great gift of life to wash over us yet again.
Happy Thanksgiving! And a poem by Mary Oliver, our favorite poet:
~by Mary Oliver
My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.