Florida II / by Justin Gage

Stay in a place as long as it takes to make leaving it difficult. Stay in a place long enough to know all you will miss about it once you leave. To know the goodness, the greatness, the sweetness, the truth and wealth of a place and its people.

What are some things I will miss about America, Florida, Gainesville?

-Speaking to people in English, being able to understand strangers and connect with them deeply in what they are sharing of their life to me, at a restaurant or in an uber or at the local job I am working

-The wealth of options in alternative lifestyle foods. Yes America is THE consumerist nation, still, the fact that I can buy a gluten free, vegan cheese cake at Earth Fare, walking 10 minutes to get to Earth Fare and 20 to get to Trader Joe's is pretty freaking cool and privileged. I will miss Kale. Yes Kale is difficult to find in other places of the world!

-The specific species of Birds that are around these parts that I am barely really starting to know the wealth of


-Spanish Moss

-My neighbors and the workers in the complex I encounter, greet and exchange with on my walks

-The spirit of Gainesville: Intelligent and Creative. Active. Engaged with the Natural World. Spunky.

-The used bookstore that has a wealth of Native American books etc that are cheap... I wish I could have them all... but I am already having to figure out how I will travel with my 3 instruments et al

-Being surrounded by artists, activists, spiritually and environmentally inclined folks.



-Seeing my nephew grow each day, give me kisses, interact with the world around him

-The conversations, support, comfort and exchange that my Sister and Brother in Law have provided for these months. Being surrounded by peace, love and understanding, through my pains, questions, loss, dreams, desires. They have been constant. I am so grateful.

-A community within the church that sought to see and interact with me, finding places of worship and sharing.

Through this all, understanding that relationship takes time. Healing and Love and Community take time.

I have not always been ok with that. Not in the slightest. I needed more. I needed people to give more. I needed there to be more. Now, I move forward. I am ok. What about others? How can I help others?

I look forward to where I am going.

I seek to grow in my ability to engage with the world. To truly love and see it. To love and see myself and to move forward. To be grateful in life. To be joyful in life. To acknowledge pain and difficulty while celebrating beauty.
I walk forward, the best that I can. Accepting what I have done. Letting go. Trusting that there is much beauty and richness in this life yet.