When People Leave Town

“All that is dear to me and everyone that I love
Are of the nature to change
There is no way to escape being separated from them”*

Dear Bella Levenshteyn

Ultimately, I’m glad when people leave for another city
Or continent
It happens summer, spring, winter, or fall

People enter our lives
And welcome us into theirs
For two or twenty years

Then they move on
Graduate school
Professional advancement

Following a lover or a dream
And I may notice the arising of clinging
Of wanting things to stay the same:

Wistful: “We only went to that café 72 times together”
Anxious: “Who am I going to read the Hardt and Negri trilogy with now?”
Shmaltzy: “No more walks in the park at 6 am!!!”

Irked: “Yale’s so overrated”
Snarky: “How can he afford living in New York anyway?”
Disappointed: “Damn, just when things were starting to rev up…”

But then I catch myself and so  breathe in, breathe out and smile:
No, they want to go and they must go
And I can be grateful to them because

Just when I’ve gotten all cozy with the status quo
They remind me of the brilliant dharma truth:
Everything is impermanent

But don’t you leave, Bella!


*Thich Nhat Hanh, from The Five Remembrances

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