Here it is: the last view of my home city. It’s nearing midnight and up here on the crest, the view stretches for miles of sparkling lights, deep swatches of blue-black night and the hinting glint of stars up above.
The air smells like mountain- decaying leaves and dirt and the fresh smell of clean air that comes with being up higher than the city line. I’m sitting on top of my Mustang, the engine still hot underneath me, and with a deep breath, I take it all in.
This is where I grew up. I know this city and this view so well that I can pinpoint the area of my house, my best friend’s house, the school where I live, and my favorite coffee shop downtown. My neighborhood is so familiar to me that I can find my way around all of it in the dark and I don’t even know the street names.
For a second, trepidation fillls me at the thought of leaving this place. Here, I don’t have to worry about my car breaking down because I have a list of people I can call. Here, I don’t have to worry about being safe because I know exactly where the bad parts of town are and when not to be in them. Here, I can walk, bike or drive anywhere I want and I will never be lost.
Here is home.
Will I miss it? Sure, I will.
But I’ll also be so glad for the chance to experience a new town. Won’t it be nice to wake up to a different set of mountains? To a blanket of snow rather than the same hot stretch of desert? To find new coffee shops and new places. To find new people.
That is adventure and that is living. Comfort zones are only comfortable when you don’t ever think to see what’s beyond them.
With a sigh, I take one last look at home. I look at the glittering stars, the highway cutting its way through the city, the stretch of black desert between this mountain range and the next.
And I slide off my hood, get into my car and start the engine.
As I begin to Descend the winding mountain road back to town, that view follows me the whole way.