We walked along the snow lined sidewalk down Main Street in Bozeman . . . 

The faint whisper of Christmas sprinkled about in sparkling light-adorned facades of homes and businesses. The brisk fall night cradled us like the cold lover that it is: reminding us of the transience of life, of love. We were walking somewhere, but nowhere in particular. My friend sought me out to talk about love, and life.

There were questions about leaving, traveling and what if there were to be a come back-ing? They couldn’t see themselves continuing to live in the country much longer, let along potentially raising a family here. And because they couldn’t see it I couldn’t see it either. But there was, is something, holding them back. They weren’t asking me for information, they were looking for affirmation. Somebody to validate what they’ve been dreaming of.

Too often, we look for somebody to validate what we want. Not that this is entirely wrong, we’re social beings after all. But many use others as a crutch. Getting stuck in place because of what is in the “best interest” of those around us. I say this all from experience.

It’s hard to break loose and leave. Despite how many times I have left the hardest part of traveling for me is still the couple of weeks before leaving. The place where old and new begin to mesh, where those you know disappear and the unknown reaches to you with open arms. It’s scary and unsettling. It’s a reminder of our impermanence. Showing us that we can leave and people and life will continue without us, while we continue living in our own, new space. The leaves fall from the trees followed by the snow, and before you know it the grass is green again, nourished by the detritus of the past and all that has passed.

To my friend, you’ve already taken the hardest and most important step in acknowledging that this isn’t the life for you. The rest comes easily if you will allow it to. Instead of waiting for the unknown to open up to you, embrace it, take control and start the rebirth process a few months early. The leaves of your past have already begun falling. Remember it’s coldest in the winter, right before the thaw. Don’t let the numbness reach your core. You know who you are. Now let the world know.


Jack Dawkins

is a spoken word artist and writer who has been traveling North America for the last five years. He has worked as a tour manager, ride operator at a theme park, caretaker, and salmon canner, along with attending some college and many different social/environmental justice summits, conferences, and camps.

      What has led to you finally taking an active role in your future? If you could leave right now, where would you go?

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6 thoughts on “Leaving

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