The lights from the city are glowing off to my left as my car glides through the tos and fros of this six-lane artery. This is usually when I wait in ambivalence for the drive to be over. But tonight I feel prickles of nostalgia come over me in the peace brought by the darkness and the staccato beats of the white dotted lines ticking by.
I’ve lived my entire adult life in this state, never quite feeling at home in my mind, but somehow making one of it. I’ve talked endlessly about my native state with stubborn loyalty and complained about the politics and softness of the culture here. Yet, now that I am faced with leaving, suddenly all the good things I will miss surface.
I will miss the warmth of the sunshine, which never seems daunted by winter rains for long.
I will miss the frothy beaches set against rocky crags.
I will miss year-round biking though oak flanked clay single-track trails.
I will rivers flowing over granite and fields of wine grapes tucked in blankets of mustard flowers.
But most of all, I will miss the pockets of friends I have scattered throughout different cities I have lived here. The ones I explored the mountains with. The ones I worked with. The ones I ran with. The ones I prayed with. The ones I sat in church with. The ones I traveled with. The ones I lived next to. The ones who I stayed up late dreaming about this very move with.
Suddenly my future seems like a blank page without them to help me write my stories. And yet I know there will others who will take up the pen.
But for now, I can’t help but feel a loss at leaving this state.