To the ‘g-words’ I’ve said & the ones soon ahead:
You’ll come back, they say. And I hope they’re right, I really do. Because nobody wants to offer what very well could be true—this is it, this is goodbye. This is the dirty ‘g-word’ we leave unspoken.
It’s been four days of blue skies. That’s a sacred thing here in Scotland. I basked in the blessing today by taking a walk. I found a nice tree coated in moss. Growing on top of a massive boulder, its roots spiraled round in strength. I needed to sit, to think, to write.
The air, light in my lungs, smelt of sweet flowers.
The birds, of at least nine different tunes, sung amongst the buzz of a big fuzzy bee.
The wind’s crash above folded into the choir.
Surrounded with bluebells, dainty purple wildflowers that dangle across the dirt, I was calm.
I remember wanting to sit there all day, maybe all night. Lounging on that tree’s roots, I’d disappear into the pulse of this place. I tried, I really did. But the hum of cars behind me and the hint of a burger cooking somewhere near, pulled me out of my trance.
Classes are done, finals are over for most. Summer break has begun, and well, for many, that means heading back home. One by one they start to leave. And for us study-abroaders that means getting on a plane, but this time, with no return ticket.
Hugs are quick, smiles are big. We say—See you soon—and—Safe travels home. Never that dirty ‘g-word’. Because here, where our homes are miles and days and oceans apart, that word is too real.
As each of the ones I’ve come to know leaves, this place becomes different. The daffodils are dead, replaced with purple bluebells. Afternoon tea with hearty life conversations are lost at sea. No more dancing in the rain to the rhythm of laughter. I’m convinced they’ve stuffed pieces of this place into their luggage. Taken what I’ve known, adored, with them. Yet I’m still here, and though it’s still the beautiful Scotland I love, I’m forced to re-learn where it is I truly am.
When I’m old and grey, I’ll tell my grandchildren of a land with a tree, tall and mighty upon a rock. Roots painted in moss. I’ll tell them of bare toes sinking into the soft earth. How I didn’t want to move, but prayed and wished with the atoms inside of me to blend into the trunk. Become the place I’ve spent a beautiful few months in.
The thing is, a tree sees many travelers pass by as they journey through these woods. It knows how the land changes without our permission. That I can only sit here for a little while longer.
And so I’ll go. But I won’t forget the moss, soft between my toes. The songs I’ve sung—
It’s been good. No, better than good. It’s been great.
Even glorious. Incredibly & undoubtedly grand.
These are ‘g-words’ I can use. These are ‘g-words’ that tell the tale I want to remember. The one that forgets that daffodils die and one by one we have to say goodbye.