The drive will take less than 3 hours, if I don't stop a lot. And there's no real reason to stop a lot on a 3 hour drive, is there? It's a drive I made maybe 6 or 8 times last spring and summer, after a stretch of 10 years without. Before that, my childhood and young adult years are peppered with memories of this place. My parents "loaned me" the house my now-deceased grandparents built and grew old in, and I needed to do something drastic for myself. So I went up there and had myself a whole pile of solitude. Here's a post in which I tried to explain a bit about why I chose such an atypical way to spend my summer.
And then, just like that, I was through. After months of driving back and forth, I'd had enough. The long stretches of solitude, the meandering walks around the property, picking berries and stepping in crawdad holes and running outside to take photos of dramatic evening light and lovely conversations with my neighor and wondering if I would accidentally bump into the guy I dated when I was 18 whose house I could literally see from my patio. (I didn't. Which is kind of a pity, since we were once quite good friends, too.) I said goodbye to some demons in that house last summer, remembering some pain and struggles. There were happy memories there, too, and I revisited them as well. But one day it was enough.
The realization came upon me suddenly, and unfortunately I hadn't planned things quite right. This realization came upon me while I was back here in Greensboro, and I had not one ounce of energy remaining that could convince me to make that final trip and bring the remainder of my things home. And so there they've remained. For more than a year.
It's time to go get my things.
If everything goes according to the barely-put-together plan I've been formulating, two of my girlfriends are going with me. That didn't happen last summer. If I have company, I think it will be the best kind of visit. I think it will be a goodbye. People tell us never to say never, but I think perhaps I've done all I need on this property. I don't know that, if I make this trip on Saturday, I'll ever need to go again.
I feel a little wistful, even sad, as I write this. But what I discovered last summer was that most of what I remembered about my ties to this place now lived solidly in my memory. Maybe I'll get there on Saturday and discover otherwise, but I tend to doubt it. Goodbyes have a way of letting you know when their time has come.