Uprooted

Hi, nice to see you. Thanks for stopping back in.

This update is a tough one. This is our last night in Missoula and I am writing from a hotel not five minutes from what is no longer our home. I used to believe that the only reasons to stay in a hotel in the town in which you live were either illicit sex or cable television. Both of those reasons have their merit, but I am now confronted with a third option: the long goodbye.

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Last view from our living room

While I know that time is a constant, right now it feels like the seconds are flying by faster than should be possible. As I sit here tonight I am considering time as a force that must be acknowledged. Time is unstoppable, it pushes on, and as it does it asserts a unique pressure. Cody and I came to Missoula on a four-year hitch. We blew into town like the seeds of a cottonwood tree. We’re here, keep it light, hit the road. There was a plan in the wind. Three years for me to go to graduate school and a fourth so that Hayden could graduate from the High School at which he began, and then we would breeze on out to make our way in the world. Those four years became six, then eight, then ten and gradually the pressure of time held our seeds in place and we grew roots. A little more than fifteen years later those roots are not so easily dislodged.

In many ways time is the great replacer. It discards old plans like outdated tools and often presents an alternative we never even new we wanted but quickly becomes the new normal.  In my purse across the room is the pen I used this morning to sign on all the lines that would allow someone else to put down their own roots in the spot where ours used to be. I can see that pen from where I am typing and I’m thinking about how pens replaced pencils as preferred writing implements and how even now as I am typing, that pen used just this morning lays there abandoned, and how all of this happend without any acknowledgement of the time it took to force the change.

Just two days ago my dining room was packed with boxes and beds and appliances. All of these things, accumulated over time, manifestations of our roots, were thoughtfully loaded onto a truck by our friends and packed away in storage. Dormant. As I polished the wood floors of our empty home the grain of the wood showed not only the lives of the trees (knotholes and burn years) but also the life of my family (well worn paths of travel, that deep scratch from my grandfather’s trunk). Right then the season turned.

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Trunks packed and floors polished
Tomorrow we are in the wind again. We are older, hopefully wiser, and we take with us every moment, every perfect moment that has shaped our rings and fed our roots. All of our very best memories, of our saddest days, of our closest relationships and of our greatest achievements they all begin the same way “Remember the time . . .”

So, one last story while our roots are nearest to their home: Remember the time we cashed it all in packed up our lives and headed out into Big Sky Country to figure out what came next for our family? You remember that time? It was when we discovered many of the greatest people we have ever known. It was that same time that we were part of building a community of artists, and builders, and doctors, and teachers, and lawyers. Remember that time? It was that time in that place, where we have come to now, that surrounded (and still surrounds) us with love and took (and in this moment still takes) care of us when we could not care of ourselves. You do remember that time? It was that time when the stars aligned to light the way for our new adventure. And then it was time to go.

 

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