My Opening Farewell
It’s coming. The moment we’ve wondered about, dreaded, longed for, avoided, embraced: the moment we leave France. Every day recently we’ve asked ourselves whether today will be the day we decide, and every day the answer has been no, let’s do anything but make that final call. Let’s do crossword puzzles, take a trip, do the recycling, go out to lunch, learn how to use the gramatically gorgeous passé simple, buy something heavy and impractical to ship, you get the picture. Do anything but decide whether to go or stay.
And so I’ve been leaving you, dear friends of French Letters, a bit high and dry, while we ourselves have been à la dérive, drifting aimlessly, unable to commit, even to ourselves, to casting off yet again for another shore. We love our life here and hate to leave it, but we’ve come to see that we have to get out from under its spell in order to understand where our future really lies. And if you’ve been reading since the beginning of this adventure you’ll remember that once we had another life that we could barely bear to leave. We don’t know if it’s still there, but we need to go and find out.
So “come, friend who’s been with me on this long journey, let your horse rest a while, while you drink a few drops of wine without letting yourself become drunk.” That will be my motto for the next two months, as we collect ourselves, our cats, our multitudinous memories and much-multiplied bunch of belongings, and get ready to head westward.
We’ll still travel France’s addictively lush paths together for a while, we’ll drink and eat the best of the season and toast our friendships, but our horses will be taking it easy, gathering strength for the journey ahead, and we won’t permit ourselves to become too intoxicated with what we see in the meanwhile. Because that’s how we got where we are today, having drunk deeply of the oh so sweet vie française, and now it’s time to pause, emerge, and breathe the air of change once again.
I hate goodbyes, and it’s not time for them yet. But goodbye is in the air, along with the last winds of winter. Spring will be here soon, the season of change, and spring is no time for regret. As usual, Jackson Browne said it best:
“There’s a train every day, leaving either way
There’s a world, you know
You’ve got a ways to go
And I’ll soon believe it’s just as well
This is my opening farewell.”