My friend and I were joking over texts last night about being a “ying” to the other’s “yang.” I was cooking up a special “last” dinner as my husband packed for yet another long training that will keep us apart for months. My friend and I are Myers-Briggs “twins” except for that last letter where she is a “P”and I am a “J.” That makes her the one who goes with the flow and I’m a pretty rigid planner—qualities we admire in each other.
But planning for yet another leaving makes me weary. He’s leaving. I leave in the middle. His is training for work. Mine involves a conference, three and a half weeks of a section hike with my brother while he thru hikes the Appalachian trail, and an academic lecture for me at the end. My “J” is in full swing. There’s a suit for the later talk swinging its way down I-70, hanging in Vern’s truck. That means I have to see him at some point. That makes the leaving a little less difficult. I’ll mail the suit I’ll carry to the first event back home. And in the middle will be me, my backpack, and my brother. I’ve planned for rain and cooking, sleeping and hiking, everything but the part where I will enjoy the woods of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee as well as the company of the adult version of my brother—my friend.
Vern’s departure, this morning, was the first milestone of an eventful spring I’ve been planning for almost a year.
I’ve written about change quite a bit in this space. Change is wrestling with ying and yang. Most days I would like to be right here, making a home with the man I love. But both of us also want to be making a life together. A life worth living.
And so he’s leaving, for a while, and I am too. He will come back a fully trained ranger. I will come back having learned more about writing as well as talked about Willa Cather. Also I will have a few hundred miles of the “Green Tunnel” beneath my feet and a stronger bond with my sibling. All of our lives will be fuller for the experiences we gave them.
But what is it about leaving? Maybe it’s because it lets us come home.