I’m eight weeks away from leaving the high desert that has been my home now for almost a decade. It’s a move I’ve talked about, fantasized about, almost since I settled here, and yet, it’s hard.
I touched on this in another Monday Meditation, but let me make it broader than just me and my own particular sense of place…
In the current issue of National Geographic, there is a fascinating article on bowerbirds. The photographs alone are worth a few minutes of your time. These birds create little landscapes all their own, looking like something Andy Goldsworthy might have had a hand in:
Place, personalized, becomes something more than just a point in space, more than a dot on a map or a view through a window. It’s the I am in Here I am that makes all the difference. Having involved myself in this place–its landscapes, its people–leaving isn’t just a simple, mechanical matter of propelling myself into another zip code. This place leaves a void in me, as I leave a void in it.
What is it that holds you where you are? What makes you choose here over there? And what makes either place matter, in the way that lovers matter or heirlooms matter or memories matter? Cowbirds and cuckoos can call any old nest home. The bowerbird may spend years perfecting his little piece of real estate. Permanence is only one part of the equation, to be sure, but it’s not an insignificant one.
Whose heart has deeper roots, the farmer or the gypsy?
And is it easier for either of them to say goodbye?