About three years ago, I found myself not wanting to leave somewhere I’d just discovered, but I was unable to stay. In a sentimental attempt to grasp a little bit more of that land than time was allotting me, I picked a leaf before setting sail, and preserved its delicate skeleton between the pages of a dense book. That year was full of temporary visits. And I never stayed for long.
I am always leaving.
I began to gather more reminders.
Leaves, like moments, wilt and morph into something other than how they started out if you try to carry them forward with you, but you can nonetheless collect and cherish them. They serve as a trigger, a guide, to what you once felt at a certain time in a certain place.
Mostly I like that these gatherings have nothing to do with relationship in the human realm. They are not reminders of people, or lovers left behind. It is an intimacy held strictly between me and the land. A land that is leaving, just as much as I am.
It, too, moves. It, too, transforms.
I recently revisited some old favourite books from a dusty shelf, and began to uncover leaf after leaf from a foreign land. Although I had scribbled dates on each one’s fragile, toilet-paper giftwrap, there was no record nor structure for my preservation method, so I have no idea how many more books contain these traces of my trails.
I’ll keep looking.
I’ll keep leaving.