The fact that my time in Boston is finite is beginning to sink in. I’m wondering if this is the last time I see A, drive down B, roll my eyes at C. I’m beginning to say my goodbyes.

And one of these happened this weekend, when I took a last trip north to a spot that’s been a rare constant in my adult life.

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in rural New Hampshire. I don’t know what it’s like to live there day in and day out, I don’t know what it is to have ‘live free or die’ actually coursing through your veins.

I do know, though, the point where asphalt gives way to dirt on Codfish Hill. I have worried, hoping against hope that my little Despereaux would find the horsepower to make it up the hill in the winter. Despereaux and I have jostled our way through the mudholes of the spring. We’ve driven slowly, marveling at autumn colors. And so many times, like this last weekend, we’ve driven up under the shockingly green cathedral arch of tree branches against a clear blue sky.

Though I’ve composed lines in my head for the last 48 hours, I’m having trouble. How, exactly, do I write about a place that isn’t mine, really, that I have no actual claim to?

I am thinking of the community I got to experience, in whatever small way for however short a time. How much it meant to have the Hill know who I was, to see familiar faces, hold actual conversations, to feel like a part of something bigger. At the moment, the loss of this is the most heartbreaking thing.

I was foolish enough to believe that this place might always be there for me, a surrogate home, a surrogate family.

How much of the reason I’m still in Boston is because it is easier to get to Canaan from here than anywhere else? That, when so unmoored from any other kind of stability, from here, at least, I know how to get somewhere familiar? And there’s the double-edged sword of leaving: I may be able to breathe easier, to not constantly be reminded of what I had and lost, but I’ll be further away from a place where I was always, always happy and loved and welcomed. I can say that about nowhere else in the world. It’s my most irreconcilable grief right now: that that place is not available to me, but I can’t bear the thought of leaving it behind.