How to say goodbye to loved ones who want to ramble in the gypsy life

Watercolor on Arches Hotpress watercolor block

It was a hard weekend. Two bon voyage parties: One for a friend and colleague that may never again cross my path. One for a beloved child-no-longer-a-child who may never fully understand how beloved she is.

It chokes, you know. The feeling of being left behind, of space being emptied, heart hollowed out because it’s time, or it’s the compression of time, or the god-damned lack of time that’s been poured out like water and you can’t gather it back safely to your heart.

I’m maudlin, I know, because others aren’t. And I know it’s not fair for the ones leaving. After all, I’ve done my share of leaving, of rambling, of tramping like a gypsy across oceans and deserts. I’ve delved into jungles where I swam with alligators, sailed on oceans where I slept on islands under the southern cross, drank in garrison towns, hiked up tropical rivers, and lived near the ocean. Twice.

I’m sure I made my mother weep. But I had to do it. Everybody has to find their own selves living at the end of their broken tethers. Everyone should get to experience the rambling life. It’s marvelous, the expectancy of the open road, the unknown ripples, twists and switchbacks of the open road.



But it aches for those of us waving goodby at the dock, dropping them off at the curb with their luggage, or raising one more glass, our tears unshed because the ones leaving need to set off on their journeys unencumbered by salty hugs. They’ve got futures to see to, adventures to create, or to be created by those adventures, if the adventures don’t destroy them first. And that’s the chance we all take with life.

In the end, we all trudge up a hill with only our souls, blocked like felt hats, pooched and folded and brimmed by our experiences, packed into our personal rucksacks.




We all float like feathers up to the sky, borne aloft like hope, like wishes, like minor chords heard across the pigeon bridge.


Be safe, my ones. L’chaim!