There go the tornado sirens. 10 am on the first day of the month. A regular forlorn hooting that has informed my life these past 252 months, that I’ll likely never hear again.

Twenty-one years ago this month I moved to Laramie, full of loneliness and ambition. I’d left my college friends behind, a network so intimate and involved that they still feel like family. I came to Laramie for graduate school. The starkness of those early days is still vivid. Living in my little apartment with my cats. My desk in the lab with my manic/depressive Hungarian (is that redundant?) PhD advisor, the air filled with his cigarrette smoke. All the friends who’ve come and gone over the years: grad students, professors, Silver Sagers.

This morning, David and I went for a walk around Washington Park. Then went for Saturday morning Starbucks (I get to have a peppermint mocha twist on Saturdays! Sugar-free the rest of the week) and Daylight donuts (the other special Saturday treat). We drove past our old house, the one we bought in ’93 and sold five years ago. The aspen tree we planted for Father’s Day that first summer stands taller than the apartment building next door. All around it cluster smaller aspen, the ones David and Mike illegally salvaged from the dump, when Walmart discarded them after a hailstorm.

We saw two friends at the donut shop. The writer Mark Jenkins, who’s off to Tibet next week for National Geographic and taking his fabulous wife, Sue along, and one of David’s Game & Fish cronies.

I think this is how it will be — the gradual good-byes. We ran out of time for a party. But this works. Saying good-bye to each thing in the course of errands. To each person as I gather, pack and redistribute around town.

To the vultures who circle above the skylights in my writing studio, sweeping out to the valley, following the cycle of their days.

2 Replies to “Ode”

  1. Gradual good-byes are harder than the big party where you get it all over with at once. At least for me. Then again I always ripped off my band-aids with a hiss and a forbidden word or two.

    Your Saturday routine sounds delightful, and I'm certain you'll soon have one in Santa Fe.

  2. Ah, those evocative tornado sirens!
    Actually, I think goodbyes are rather a positive event. They are really just a transition, after all, something new entering your life, rather than something old leaving.
    Hope to bump into you both before you go.
    – Julianne

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