Autumn comes differently in different places, bringing a uniform rush of change that is palpable in the trees and in the people. It hangs in the air, first a confused urgency, then settling into a resigned complacency, so subtle you might forget it was ever there in the first place.
Each year as the trees begin to change and the cool winds begin to blow, there’s an adrenaline that courses through me for days, weeks, urging me to do something, to take a leap, to turn a corner I can’t come back from. It’s a delightful and uncomfortable feeling. It’s animalistic. Sometimes it leaves me wondering what I am.
I think this year I’ll find out.
It’s a mere 16 days until I leave town, and just 26 until I fly north in a Cessna out of Snow Lake, Manitoba. Word travels quickly, and in the coffee shop in the morning, friends, acquaintances, people I know by face and not name wish me well, drill me with questions, tell me, “You’re either incredibly brave or incredibly stupid,” – that one’s my favourite – look at me, assessing, and tell me they’re glad I’m coming back.
It’s a family I’ve made here, too. Or maybe it’s made me.
Friends, the close ones, want a piece of time, a memorable moment, something to last a bit. I’m familiar with the feeling – it’s utterly human, and I feel it when I know deep down it’ll be the last time I spend with someone I care for for a long time. I’m happy to have that moment, and share it.
Earlier this week I sat around a kitchen table with good, good people, close friends, part of my extended family. We ate and drank and played Scrabble, which I was elated to lose (not to brag, but it’s hard to find people who can give me a run for my money at Scrabble).
This morning I sipped coffee with a good, good person and told him how grateful l am to know such wonderful people here. He said, “You take good people wherever you can find them.”
Tonight I had supper and laughed and laughed with some of my favourite people on the planet.
When I think about the people I know here – the ones in my immediate circle, the acquaintances, the people I look up to, the ones I’m inspired by from afar – I feel so, so lucky that I ended up in this little town, in this awesome, quirky, flawed, wonderful, unique community. It’s as good of a place as I’ve ever had to call home for a while.
I’ve never spent two months in solitude before. I don’t know if I’ll miss these moments, the witty jokes, the banter, the boisterous laughter, the friendly punch in the shoulder. But I’m glad I have them locked away, the happiest memories, because I know three months isn’t a long time, and I’ll be back – I’ll always be back – but a change is going to come.