The Perfect Time to Leave

Written by: Amy Allendar

“Well, at least you’re getting out of here at a good time.” This sentiment, or something similar has been spoken to me countless times over the last six months.

You see, my family will be packing up and heading out on an extended time away from our home in Minot. My husband is in New Mexico training for his position with a National Guard unit, and we’ve decided to press the proverbial pause button on things here in the name of adventure and family togetherness.

When I tell others that we are planning to be away from Hotdish Land from September to December, many have chimed in with, “Well, you’re getting out of here at a good time.”
Or, “It’ll be nice to miss the onset of winter.”
Or, “What a great time to get out of Minot.”
This is surprising to me, because I love a Minot fall. (Cue the, “Fall is great when we have one,” comments.) As I think about stepping away on the cusp of autumn, my heart hurts a little.

“Some people say I’m leaving town at the perfect time. I say, there’s no perfect time to leave a place you love.” Amy Allender photo

Okay, it hurts a lot.

Fall in Hotdish Land isn’t about soggy days, the first sleet, unexpected snow, and the first frigid nights. To me, autumn is warm afternoons spent at Berry Acres. It’s the smell of their corn box, the sound of the pumpkin canon, and feeling the texture of heirloom gourds. It’s local coffee shops rolling out fall flavors, and the smell of cardamom wafting into the street.
Fall is the festival on Main Street and the opening Brass Band Concert. It’s the sun setting earlier, a welcome return to going to bed in the dark, and being able to get a good look at the stars. It’s hockey games, and football games, and art projects at Not Stock.

A Magic City autumn is scouring thrift stores for nordic sweaters to wear to the Høstfest, observing the leaves changing their color at the Denbigh Forest, Oak Park, Bison Plant Trail, and Woodland Trail. It’s anxiously waiting for the annual Pumpkin Walk, and collecting candy on the Downtown Treat Trail. It’s that distinct smell of leaves, cold, and smoke in the air.

“Our family at the Pumpkin Walk last October.”
Amy Allender photo

Fall means rodeo, and symphony, and finally having neighbors in town on the weekend because they are no longer going to The Lake. It’s weekly soup recipes, warm bread from the oven, and playing cards with friends over steam rising from our bowls.
I don’t think this is a perfect time to leave.

Then I pause, and consider, “When would I prefer to go?” The truth is, there’s no chunk I can write off as a time I’d like to avoid. Yes, the windchill is uncomfortable. But it blows in so many good things with it.
When you look for the good, when you have decided this is a good life and a good place, there isn’t an ideal time to be gone. There is no perfect time to be away from a place you love.

As much as I love our life here, and fall along with it, I love our family more. As a military family we’ve spent many months apart—many of you understand. Long ago we decided if we could be together we would. Now is one of those times.
I am confident this adventure is right for us, right now. But just because something is right, doesn’t always erase the nerves about leaving, or the homesickness that may ensue. Amid all the unknowns of the next few months, one thing is certain: we’ll be glad to come home to Minot.

Find the good in this season, and tell a good story. Far away, I’ll be thinking about all the familiar fun in Minot, wondering if you’re enjoying it as much as I do.

To keep up with our time away, and for more on positive living, connect with me on Instagram (@amy_allender) and Facebook (@amyallenderblog.)

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