I seem to think of blog post titles in terms of song or album names. This Beck album is my perfect title, my calling to sit at the computer and do this thing.
My girlfriend sails away tomorrow. My first dear heart, first Missoula soul-sister, first how-could-we-find-ourselves in these wilds, so similar yet so far from we started. I so remember when I first laid eyes on her. Sitting at an outdoor table in front of the Hob Nob, skinny legs laid out long on the pavement, flip flops, jeans, long, straight blonde hair, just like all the girls I grew up with had. If they weren't Asian. Or Mexican. Or black. Bri was the California blonde model from my ethnic upbringing pie chart. Smart and successful and fabulous, ready to take on all the adventures Montana had to offer.
We conquered a lot of those firsts together. First venison steaks on a grill. First of many a Missoula pot luck. First Kettlehouse growlers and Bob Marshall backpacking trips. First Top Hat crazy dance parties, burger and beer nights at the Old Post. First red wine, candlelight nights with girlfriends full of truths and breaking-it-downs, full of goodness and connection. Cross country skiing (remember how ridiculously lame we were?). Jerry Johnson and freaky Elkhorn and all the beauty and weirdness that makes this state so quirky, so magical.
Singing loudly on the scruffy hardwood floor of my first apartment on Front Street. Indigos and Fleetwood Mac and Counting Crows. Bri helped me not be scared of my voice. I closed my eyes and belted hard.
There were shifts. I was always a ways older. Married first. Had babes. Shifts occured around those years. That palpable moment while backpacking at Goldbug Hot Springs. I couldn't stop asking Joellen about being a mom, my theme so clear, my questions unwavering, focused. The path set. Bri was quiet on that trip. Separated herself. Had enough intuition and foresight to see the shift. And, indeed, soon my adventures, my career, took a backseat. Conversations about nursing and sleep schedules took the forefront. We grew different lives. Full of heart and the best of intentions, but different.
And then Bri found Rob. And I couldn't have picked a better fellow for her. And now they are living out their dreams, her dreams, and sailing around the world. And it's so freaking cool.
Tonight when she came by for the final goodbye, I was sitting in my yard, soaking up the last few moments of Montana springshine. I pulled her sweet, skinny little frame on to my lap, put my arm around her tiny waist. I was flooded with love and memory and all the goodness that makes this life what it is. The choices that lead us here. The love that is history, that is firsts, that is true and real connection.
I am so, so very thrilled for her adventure. Inspired. Awe-struck. My intrepid travel musings so humbled by this great wide open setting sail. Proud of my little homegirl.