There is something about a crossroads.
Right now, I am sitting in a sweet hotel in one of those little towns that is a crossroads kind of place. This is the little town that marks the place on the highway where everything changes depending on which direction you choose to travel. One way leads through the canyon to the big cities. The other way leads to the heartland and the fields of gold. And if you make that one turn instead, you go to the semi-deserts and lakes.
When J. and I first started dating, we were both at crossroads in our lives. I was feeling bored and depressed by the city, was helping the people I worked with as they gracefully guided their daughter/sister/wife to the other side as she completed her time with cancer, and was leaving behind relationships that just didn't work. J. was smack in the middle of the immediate aftermath of a best friend's suicide that had left him on his knees. That was 12 years ago, and we spent much time in that summer of 2000 reading, talking, and thinking about the idea of crossroads.
If you feel like it, google "crossroads lore," or something like that, and you can see that much has been made of the spiritual energy of an intersection of ways. I feel it right now. I have just driven away from one place, spent the night at the point of the crossroads, and now I am about to head home to the other place. The twins are romping about the hotel room and a mighty, spring-swelled river is crashing by right outside the window. I feel happy to be seeing J. soon, but ambivalent about getting back to real life with all of its mundane concerns. I feel excited about the new creative endeavors about to start spinning, yet wistful for all that I am leaving behind.
I grew up one hour away from this particular crossroads (in the desert/lake direction), so the look and smell of the sage and the dry grass is like a tonic that soothes me back to a simpler time in my life. It feels full of spirits here at this crossroads, and makes me think of all of the experiences I have had when I went that way, and then that way, and then that way.
Most people think of this little town as the place to get gas, fast food, maybe a night's sleep. But whenever I am here I have to stop a moment and transition. This is the point where I go from here to there, internally and externally.
In an hour or so I will strap the kids in the car seats and off we'll go. I won't be back here for while. But there is some odd comfort in knowing that this little crossroads will still be here the next time my life carries me away, somewhere new. And it will feel exactly like it feels right now - like an old friend helping me on my way.