Leaving The Ranch is something that becomes slightly harder every time I come.
It is not that I by any means despise where I am going - I miss my family when I am gone and my pets and the parts of my life that are filled in there by activities and people. There is always - at least for me - a certain sense of comfort by being surround by my "things"; in that, I suppose, I am more of a Hobbit than anything else.
Part of the dislike of leaving, of course, is the simple fact that every time I leave it will likely be three to four weeks before I return, which means three to four weeks before I will see my parents again. Sometimes, like last month, one or the other of them is not really "there" due to sleep issues; sometimes, like this month, I cannot see them at all (Plague cautions and all). It is not the sense of knowing that at some point they may pass away; that is something that at their age, I have steeled myself for the day the call comes. It is the sense of knowing that at some point, they simply will not recognize me. That, I am not ready for although I know that it, too, is coming.
Part of it is that there is simply so much to do here. The house needs to be painted at some point; there are trees that have fallen that need to be made into firewood; and simple things - like, say mice patrol - have come up. And that does not even cover the list of projects that I have thought that I would like to do (Oh, there is a list of those as well. It is rather long, and could easily consume my time until I pass).
Part of it is simply the fact that being here is amazing. Every single day, one wakes up to woods and trees and wildflowers. I have seen a multiplicity of birds - songbirds, hunters, scavengers. A plethora of wildlife is outside the door: deer, jack rabbits, skunk, fox, coyote, mountain lion, bears (and mice, I suppose). Nature is here, full force, going on about its daily and seasonal business in a live action television show the likes of which Hollywood can never produce.
But I suppose the greatest part of it is simply the peace I feel when I am here. I cannot define for you why or how this peace occurs, only that it exists. Part of it surely is the isolation that is here, but part of it as well I suspect is simply that here one is not packed cheek by jowl into a place where every direction you look you see a neighbor of some kind and the air is not filled constantly with the sounds of city living. The stresses here, while real - power outages, potential fire or snow damage - are if controllable, at least consciously manageable. Not so the city: I can change none of the risks there I face at all.
But whether ready to go or not, I must. And so I will pack my suitcase and computer bag, clean out the ashes from the woodstove, set the thermostat to "Low", seal up the house (and hopefully the entrance for mice!), and head down the Hill to go to the airport, submerging myself again into an urbanity that claims that it holds the keys to a modern and fulfilling life, but too often just seems to present shackles destined to hold me from living instead of enabling it.