As I come inexorably closer to the day when I have to leave this place and this job behind and start something entirely new, I find myself continually caught up in little moments. Suddenly, in those moments, I become acutely aware of everything around me, and I cannot escape the thought that this (whatever it is) is absolutely precious, and must not be forgotten. These are the things I am going to miss terribly.

Like so…

I am caught up by the autumn light, driving west over rolling farm country covered in crops ready for the harvest. The sun paints everything in a sort of saturated sepia tone. The trees still have leaves, and are only just starting to burn out for the year. The temperature’s in that fall sweet spot — warm still, but with a cool edge that suggests a cup of cocoa later and smells a bit like a cheery sort of bonfire.

This is precious to me.

I am sitting on a farmhouse porch with a fiddle and a friend, playing music for a small crowd of people celebrating locally-grown food. The sun is slowly setting, and the flies have finally moved on to other amusements. I sit there, waiting for the next entrance, listening to the song, and I can’t help but be amazed at how beautiful it all is — a perfect evening full of good company and excellent food, and a chance to make this particular music one more time.

This is precious to me. Every moment in the music lately, with so many wonderful friends, is precious.

I am walking Henry (who is usually the easiest and most pleasant of my dogs to walk) down the street. We’ve gone through downtown and moved south, into the residential area closest to the lake, where the houses and the trees alike are increasingly old and grand. The sun through the leaves is kind, the breeze is soft, and Henry is as wonderfully pleased as he can be. For once, nothing makes him anxious — he’s just happy to be walking with me, occasionally stopping to check in for a scritch, grinning a huge canine grin with his funny floppy-ish ears up and alert instead of worried and down. I close my eyes and just breathe as we walk that familiar walk, and I wish every walk were like this one.

This is precious to me.

There are a thousand other little moments like this — playing music on an odd trailer stage under a bright moon last night, or on a farm full of ducks and geese with a happy dog hanging out; sitting and reading on the deck, with three little dogs just lounging in the sun; eating and drinking with friends; watching the sun set over town from behind the bar, as the light warms the polished wood and glints on glass…

This is precious to me.

I have often thought of late that I wouldn’t necessarily miss this place much (and that I certainly wouldn’t miss my current employer much!) — I’d miss the people (friends, colleagues, students), but not the stress, not the long drives to get anywhere, not the thousand little inconveniences and indignities and annoyances. Yet, as I encounter the things that are precious, I realize that I really will miss this place, too. It’s going to be hard to leave the light in the fall behind, and the cooling air, and the trees, and the lake, and the music.


About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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4 Responses to Fragments

  1. Bob f says:

    Lovely, poetic piece, Laura. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I miss the people (including YOU) and the camaraderie on campus, and the lake, which I of course traded for the desert. But other than the people and the lake, I miss the ice maker in my fridge. I think having to move fairly quickly was much easier….you get two years of bittersweetness, which I imagine will become increasingly wearing. I’m sorry for that. I hope you can squeeze all the joy out of that time and elude the blues as much as possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to have time to get myself in order, but the slow-motion grief is going to be increasingly difficult as I go on. Still, I look to your good example when I think of what could be ahead!


  3. Lori says:

    We will miss you (& the boys) too Laura.
    I’m so mad I didn’t get out to Walkers AGAIN this year. It seems that is a popular time for us to go to either get Mom back home from visiting my Sister, or visiting one of our daughters.I would’ve LOVE to hear you play etc.
    So sad this is happening 😟

    Liked by 1 person

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