Working in a variety of places, and meeting countless individuals with inspiring histories and experiences of their own, one of the most rewarding opportunities of setting out, away from my roots and into the unknown, have been found in the experiences I have come to share with the people that have been there since my entry into this world. Despite the physical distance that always tends to come between us, these moments bring closer an understanding that we can never truly lose what we have come to know and love.
When I left my home in Rochester, New York for college in a town that I had barely even visited to live with people I had never met, I imagined that leaving was a way to move forward and discover what was ‘out there.’ I wasn’t wrong, but in leaving, I discovered a that there was more to exploration than just experiencing something new. Life is the accumulation of every moment you live, so when the moment passes, I have found that you do not actually leave those moments and people behind, but you carry them with you wherever you go, and with each new moment or relationship we can enrich our past, our hearts, and our minds. I have experienced both sides of this process, and each in our own ways I’m sure, so have we all.
Before I left my small college town in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, my parents were setting out on their own journey to the deserts of central New Mexico in search of their own growth and discovery. It was terrifying for myself, and I’m sure also for the rest of my family. What I thought to be the only true home I had ever known was going to pass out of our lives, and into the past. I decided to stay in New York to preserve my heritage, and viewed New Mexico as a foreign place to visit when I could, and leave when I wished to return ‘home.’ What I failed to realize, was that I had done the same thing several years before, and my parents were about to set out on a journey that would shape our lives in a completely unexpected and significant way. New Mexico would eventually grow, as do all changes that we undergo, into an important part of who we have become, and where we are headed, though Albuquerque has now also passed into the history of our lives.
Now, sitting here in a small Michigan town on the shores of Lake Superior, which has only recently grown in familiarity to me, it is easy to forget the fear of change and growth that plagues us with each new transition we face. The one constant has always been the close friends I have made along the way, and most importantly, my family. Two thousand miles away, a distance that at time’s feels like it could be measured in light years, and only traversed by myself in the cabin of an aircraft far above the world that connects us, my parents are recently returned home after a journey to visit their son, but more importantly, to share with me a world that has become my life.
Though they had never been here in particular, this trip for them was certainly not the only time that they had taken time out of their lives to travel long distances in order to share with me my own. From the shores of Lake George, New York, to the Vail Valley of Colorado, my parents have done all they can to explore my life, and I myself, from the Rio Grand Valley in New Mexico, to the Hill Country of Texas, have done what I can to explore their own. With each crossing of paths, I have come to discover novelty and wonder in the people that have always been there, and the further growth of a bond that has always seemed limitless.
This isn’t always easy to see, and often times, the weight of the past or obligations of the present can distort our perspective enough to completely miss opportunities, and never is it more important to measure these parts of our lives, than when it all seems to have grown stale.
So we went sledding, my parents and I. We rode, and we talked, and despite the Upper Peninsula’s descent into my own normalcy, we discovered here together, things that none of us had ever seen or done. We loved some dogs, we walked out on the northern ice, and passed the time catching up until eventually we had to say goodbye for our next adventure.
But, despite the miles that filled the space between us as they flew south, the separate worlds on which we live, seemed to orbit a bit nearer, held close by the gravity of love.