It’s hard to not feel as though I’ve failed. I wanted to take a risk, to have an adventure, and I honestly did not think I would look back much. I hoped I wouldn’t? I often wonder what was wrong with what I had, why I left in the first place, and the “wrongness” wasn’t so wrong as it was the same, and I felt the same, and I wanted to feel different, to stretch myself. And, if that were everything, I have, definitely, stretched.
I wanted a writing community. I got that. Now it is faltering, broken, unsteady. I hope, as we scatter, it will rebuild and remain strong.
I got a taste of wet, snowless winters, lavender growing all year, wild, thorny bushes, flowers blooming in February. There is also lavender everything: macaroons, lattes, hot chocolate, cookies, ice cream. There’s the scent crushed from the buds under my feet. God I will miss the lavender.
I found food here: so much food. I could eat for days: lavain and dumplings and pain au chocolat and slurpy noodles and jolting espresso. I learned to love an Americano, something I thought was always too bitter for me. Now I drink it like it’s holy.
I found air that always smells so green and alive. Knowing there is always growing gives me a hope I never experienced in snow, which nothing seemed to live through. I just barely did.
I found a place, a city, that I love, that it hurts me to leave. Seattle carried so much want and need and hope. I even found a few people whom I love very much.
I guess what I didn’t find (yet) is community: that all-enveloping support from all sides, the years that are put in to friendships and intentional space. I could probably get it here, eventually. After years. But, why wait when I already have it, when I can feel the power of it even from here, just from reaching out and saying, “I’m coming home.”
I worry, though. I know that when I return, the first few months will be glory: summer and friends and lakes and re-learning all my places. Then what? When fall and winter come, will I feel just as restless? Will I want to leave? If I leave again, can I ever come back? How many chances do I get in a life?
I’m trying to think of it less as “going back” and more just as “going” and “bringing” and “sharing” the things I’ve learned and “reveling” in the things I’ve missed and “giving” my energy to the people I love and whose love I cherish. I don’t want to return to Minneapolis and try to “forget” Seattle ever happened. At first, I did. After NILA announced its closing, all I wanted was to forget, to pretend I’d never even heard of Whidbey Island. But that would be doing a huge disservice to the NILA community, to this year of growth, to this opportunity I took.
I love Seattle. I am already thinking how I’ll miss it. I love Minneapolis. I’ve already missed it for way too long. Somehow, in some way, there has to be room for both.