Cycles, Leaving, and Living in the Not-Yet

A moment in Northern Ireland near Kesh
A moment in Northern Ireland near Kesh. I visited Mikayla for the weekend at her final WWOOFing site. Her hosts let us walk their two gorgeous labs through the trails of the forest preserve along this lake.

“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

If only Vonnegut wrote with less irony. Soon I’m leaving the Galway I’ve come to love in the past four months. It’s a city of sunsets sunsets over the bay we watched from Mutton Island, bearded hipsters with headphones speed walking the streets, and people who will giving me great bear hugs in pubs at one in the morning without knowing so much as my first name.

Weeks before departure, my sentimental tendencies kicked in full force. Internal monologue whispers: this will be the third to last time I lug groceries back from Lidl in the rain. This will be the second to last time I write a paper to techno music in the college bar. This will be the last time I sip Guinness poured with a perfectly smooth head in the back corner of a dark pub!! Luckily the last one hasn’t come true, but it will inevitably soon. On Sunday I’ll be on another plane taking me home. New Hampshire bound and (fingers crossed) not crying.

I’m working on not getting torn up about leaving. I’m working on being okay with cycles and some parts of my life dying to make room for new people and places. I’m remembering that I made the choice to be here for a limited time and that I am powerful. If I got myself here, I can certainly get myself back again.

Although I hold these truths close, they’re easier to embrace when I’m not wrapped up the middle of living them. It is difficult to enjoy each moment for its beauty when each moment holds the possibility, in fact the inevitability, of disappearing. But this change is the reality of the world. Funny that I remember my mom telling me something like this when I was really little, but not understanding what she meant. Things really do travel in circles.

For some reason I haven’t been able to write much lately, energies maybe a bit scattered around to other people. But poems are helping me process my leaving. Jane Hirschfield reminds me that the moment is precious. The right now is waiting to be lived.


Not Yet

by Jane Hirshfield

Morning of buttered toast;
of coffee, sweetened, with milk.

Out the window,
snow-spruces step from their cobwebs.
Flurry of chickadees, feeding then gone.
A single cardinal stipples an empty branch—
one maple leaf lifted back.

I turn my blessings like photographs into the light;
over my shoulder the god of Not-Yet looks on:

Not-yet-dead, not-yet-lost, not-yet-taken.
Not-yet-shattered, not-yet-sectioned,

Ample litany, sparing nothing I hate or love,
not-yet-silenced, not-yet-fractured; not-yet-


I move my ear a little closer to that humming figure,
I ask him only to stay.

NUIG has its finals in a hotel about an hour’s walk outside the city. Too cheap for a bus or taxi, Taylor and I got lots of time to cool our nerves and enjoy the purple sunset before we took our test.


Also, here’s a great post from Corinne at her blog Learning to Grow Up. One for advice about beating the not-yet blues.


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