Lover of Leaving

“Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving …
Ours is no caravan of despair,
Come, yet again, come … “

I loved this version of Rumi’s words, sung as a round, the first time I heard it, not only because of the familiar promise of continual welcome it expresses, but because of its address: wanderers, worshipers, lovers of leaving. That’s me. I’m a lover of leaving. I’ve seldom actually moved to a new place from the sheer desire to live someplace new, but I’m certain that my underlying curiosity about the rest of the world conspires with my karma to frequently create circumstances in which I need to make a rapid getaway, set out for parts unknown, with very little plan.

The rain in Colorado started on Thursday, Sept. 12. A lot of water came in through the roof of our apartment in Idaho Springs. The landlords told us we just needed to get used to this aspect of mountain living. By the next week, the mold was visible in the hole where part of the ceiling had fallen in. We decided we needed to move out.

That weekend I was scheduled to help facilitate a Goddess-themed women’s retreat. I went with the intention of sending energy toward our new place, visualizing the perfect place and drawing it toward me. The first night, the women leading the opening circle asked all of us to “take off our masks” and let the face of the Goddess expressing herself within us at that moment be shown. When I did this, the face I saw was Kali’s, dark, grinning, dripping with blood. When asked to listed for an affirmation, I heard “I affirm creative chaos.”

Maybe that’s why I felt more excited than upset at this crisis/opportunity. I had periods of serious freakout, but mostly I felt that I had a vision of where I was going, and maybe even an inkling of why. I felt fairly certain that we were being called to move out of the mountains, down into the Denver area, at least partly because this is a time in which community is going to be important. I’ve felt it coming for a while. It’s no secret that I have a tendency toward hermitism, and living in a mountain village half an hour from the far western outskirts of town doesn’t do much to discourage it. My comfort zone is being alone, maybe with a couple of close friends, but I feel I’m being pushed to develop those dormant muscles of social interaction, and possibly be of service in some new, hands-on way.

I began looking for a place. A few were duds; several more wouldn’t take cats. I upped my price range. I had in mind that it was time we had a bigger place. I found an apartment in a neighborhood I’d never heard of, just on the Denver side of Sheridan. It was the whole first floor of a ranch-style house, including a garage and a large backyard and patio, the latter two being shared with a nice young lesbian couple who lived in the basement apartment. I really liked it. I raved about it to Sam and made him go check it out. He wasn’t in love, but he was in hate-the-world mode, and even still he thought it would do.

I set up more appointments, including a few to look at actual houses. The agents never showed, or messages got weirdly mixed. I saw another crappy apartment. We started getting sick from the mold at home, so we moved (along with our cats) into the spare room of an EXTREMELY generous friend. We applied for the South Denver place. The process was very slow. Days went by.

The weekend of the 28th & 29th we packed all of our stuff (throwing away a large proportion, including at least half of our furniture, which was either mold damaged or rickety to begin with), cleaned out the place, left the keys on the counter, and parked the U-Haul in the U-Haul parking lot until we knew where we were going to take it, which wasn’t until two days later when our application finally cleared at the Denver place. Sam felt nervous about signing, having not actually seen any other apartments, and I also felt uncertain about it, because I didn’t want it to turn out to be a huge disaster under my leadership. But I recalled this message that I’d received from Lynn Woodland’s online oracle:

Sit quietly with your eyes closed and imagine yourself walking up to the edge of an impossibly high cliff. As you look down from the edge you can’t see the bottom, only a swirling, beautiful light. The air is charged with excitement and promise. The view inspires a sense of wonder. Stand here for a moment and declare your willingness to invite the miraculous into your life…. Now, leap off the cliff. Instead of dropping, you are carried gently on currents of air and light. Let your imagination float freely and see where the stream of light carries you.

I actually did the visualization in my mind, and I felt the “currents of air and light” lifting me up. I recalled how I’d posted on Facebook the gist of our situation, and asked for prayers and light — and what an outpouring I received!!! So many friends sent messages of support, and many others silently prayed for us. I felt literally lifted up by all of this energy, very strong, coming from other people, my circle of support. I also had in my car one of the affirming post-it-note messages I’d made for the goddess retreat: Angels surround you at all times. At the base of it, I had to acknowledge that the whole situation seemed to be Divinely guided, and all I had to do was (pack and clean and lift and cry and) go with the flow.

We signed the lease. We dumped out all of our stuff into the garage. We got new Goodwill living room furniture to replace our old Goodwill living room furniture. We designated purposes for all of our new rooms. We are slowly getting things unpacked, cleaned, and set up.

A friend asked if I miss Idaho Springs. I said that it all happened so quickly, it feels very surreal, but if I look inside I realize that no, I don’t miss it, and I’m not sad at all. The experience of living in the mountains for three years was unique and wonderful and amazing, and I am so incredibly glad we did it, but that chapter feels complete. Now it’s on to sunny southern Denver, a largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood, bright colors, flat roads, easy access, and a whole new life.

Click the image to see the artist’s home page for a beautiful and fitting explanation.