I wasn’t expecting, when I left Bread Loaf last summer, to feel so entirely ready to leave Bread Loaf. I expected instead to be beside myself, to be panicked like I am by most endings, to regret all of the things I didn’t do while I was there, to cry during graduation, and to cling to the last moments in the Inn before I left and the writers moved in.
But I wasn’t. I didn’t. I was okay. Instead there were these wonderful moments during that last summer that signaled it was time to leave: like all of my favorite people from the last four summers coming back to the mountain for one final summer. Like having the most perfect last class with champagne and cake and a list of things I wanted for my writing. Like knowing the Inn was being renovated and that it would never be what it was for those five summers ever again. Like the two moose I saw on 125, driving home from one of my last nights in town, in the library, tucked into a thesis carrel. Like how my life outside of Bread Loaf had shifted open and become something I loved always as much as this place.
Which is why I wasn’t expecting this. This thing that is happening now that it is summer and the end of June and the time when, for the past five years, I have driven to Vermont and unpacked my things and claimed the desk in the library that faces the woods and has a cross-breeze.
It’s like muscle memory, like pleasure memory.
Because all I want to do is lie in bed and read books.
Because every now and then I swear I smell the stale coffee and spilled grinds. Every now and then I smell the old books, the singed wood of the library fireplace.
Because the other day I was driving across Massachusetts on a section of Route 2 that looks very much like Vermont, and I rounded a corner and expected to see the tight turn of VT-107. I expected to turn left and keep going toward part of the road where it opens up and there is nothing but blue sky and green mountains and the brown river running alongside the road.
Because right now, lying here in bed, all I want for dinner is that amazing thing I had at Bobcat Café that I can’t remember the name of and a flight of cider.
It’s amazing to me how a body can need to be filled. How it wants and wants, all on its own.