Monday 1st October 2018
My husband and I did a fair amount of traveling in September. The travel proved to be very nostalgic for me, returning first to Seattle (last time was in 1995!) and then Minneapolis (last time was in 1998!), visiting friends and family. I lived and worked in both locations and had good memories of those experiences. But in both Seattle and Minneapolis, I felt a real sadness. I've lost dear friends in those cities- friends who passed away far too young. And I felt as if I had lost myself too. Who was the person who used to live and work in these spaces, who traveled these roads on a daily basis? I did manage to find my way around both cities, and occasionally we would pass by a place- a shop or a restaurant, a park or a building, and it would trig a brief memory.
But the person that used to live in these places was no more. The years- whether I wanted them to or not- had moved me along. I had changed. I was no longer the 'Sharon' I was. I am older and I felt older- not just physically but now also emotionally and mentally removed from the person I used to be. It was a strange feeling. Like going to visit an old friend (me), but not quite connecting with that person; you were close at one time, but no longer were.
We traveled from Seattle to Minneapolis on Amtrack- a wonderful 36-hour journey through mountains and then the mind-opening rolling emptiness of the plains. I've always loved the plains- the big day sky that pulls you out of yourself; the endless night sky so bulging with stars you shrink back because you are so small.
Our trip ended with a lovely week in Portland, Maine, visiting more friends and family. Going to Maine has always felt like returning home- after all, I've moved away from Portland and moved back three times. But during this last visit, I felt a teensy bit foreign--as if I wasn't completely there; the city was growing and changing and I was being left out. This was my first trip back to Maine since losing my brother last May, so there was a sad edginess to this part of our journey as well.
My travel this past September was an Autumn Journey- nostalgic, thought-provoking, sad, beautiful, calm. It was a gentle reminder that life is short.