Gary Gardner (grgardner) wrote,
Gary Gardner

The Parting Glass

I've been listening to a song by a wonderful Scottish folksinger named Archie Fisher called "Parting Glass". It's different than the traditional Irish song by the same name. The opening line goes like this: "The fire is out, and the moon is down, the parting glass is dry and done. And I must go and leave this town, before the rising of the sun."  Those words were going through my mind as I turned and looked back one last time at my home on Fauntleroy Park, looking through the hallway towards the empty dining room, past the fireplace and out towards the forest in the back, before turning off the light, then closing and locking the door one last time on the last day of Summer 2016.
I'd wandered through the empty rooms after cleaning and making sure I'd not left anything behind. Remembering and reflecting on the last almost twenty years. My ex husband Tony and I bought the house in 1997 and it had been a wonderful home. I've lived in this house longer than any other home I've ever lived in my entire life.

When it's empty of artwork and furniture it's almost sad. It's hollow. It echos. It kind of makes it a little easier to leave it. A little. It is no longer "my" home.
One last time I go out on the balcony and look back into "my" forest and listen to the quiet that was so special here, and breathe deep the fresh air of the woods with their damp "woodsy" smell. The night before I left a family of raccoons came scampering up by the garage, purring like they do -- their eyes glowing in the dark, but I could make out their shapes. They stopped and stared for a bit as if to say goodbye before turning and waddling off.
Seattle will no longer be home. I will be back -- next summer if not sooner, spending a few months here -- the opposite of what I've been doing spending the winters in the desert. I'll be living in the desert and visiting Seattle, rather than living in Seattle and visiting the desert. But Seattle, after 27 years, will not longer be home.  Home will be California. I will make it home, just as I made Seattle home.

This past Sunday I had a bit of a going away party, and many of my closest friends stopped by for a visit. It was grand to see everyone and there were lots of hugs and tears. I will miss my friends very much -- and of course everyone plans on visiting and I hope they do, but we all know it's not the same. As I said, Seattle will no longer be "home", and I won't be "coming home" when the winter is over, and that makes a big difference. But just maybe, as it is with the symbiotic relationship that seems to exist between Seattle and Palm Springs, down the road many of my friends will retire there as well. I'm just getting there earlier -- the result of being able (or forced into) retirement earlier than most.

Earlier this month while I was in Colorado on a vacation, one of my dearest friends, Garland Jarmon (whom I actually met on this site 8 years ago) stopped by my house to take in my mail. My leaving is very hard on him particularly, and he wrote this poem and took this photo.
I stand here in your darkening room - the sun is setting.
To my left I hear the chirping of birds through the window, through the wood.
To my right the ticking of the clock; ever counting the passage of time - without fail.

It must be 6:45pm - the lamp ahead of me clicks on.
Perhaps this is not the end. Perhaps something of yesteryear will return, will last, will be remembered.

The clock still ticks, "No, all things 'ventually fade, my dear friend. Nothing lasts forever."
"Will love last forever," I quip?
"Yes, that will," the clock replies, "but soon, not even here. Soon, even that will move on from this place."

Memories are here. Laughter. Anger. Ecstasy. Service. Joy. Tears. Heartbreak. Friends and family are all here.
"Everything will fade, one day" the clock ticks - tocks - ticks - tocks...

That soul/sole light reminds me, "Remember this place."
"Remember this place."
I stand here in your darkening room - the sun is setting. :'(

It's hard to let things go sometimes -- especially something as wonderful as a home in the woods, and a city that, for the most part, I love and that has been very good to me. But time, as Garland noted, marches on. And although I traveled a lot, and for many years lived part of the year in Olympia for work, this house at 9445 37th Ave SW was my "home" and even though I would leave, as Auntie Mame would say about #3 Beekman Place, "It's always so loyal, it just sits here and waits for me to come back."  No more though, a new family will make it home and I will no longer be coming back. Things change. I have to let go, and so I do -- and I drive South to the desert and a life there. "Long is the road and many is the mile, before I'll rest my soul again." It's a long drive to my new home in the desert. Towing the bikes behind me on a trailer I can't travel as fast as I would, and I wonder if I want to.  My friend Louis says I should -- hurry and put Seattle behind me. I'm not sure I want to.  I'm officially "homeless" in that I don't have a place in the desert yet, but I'm working on it. I expect to be there sometime next week. I'm going to take my time and visit friends as I head South.

I've always been a wanderer, and here I go again a wanderin' again. I don't have a place to live in Palm Springs yet -- but that's not a problem, I'm sure I'll find something. I do feel like my time in Seattle is done and it's time to move on, but still I'm sad. "...and when I'm done with wandering, I will sit beside the road and weep. For all the songs I did not sing, and promises I did not keep."

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