As the ferry finally pulled away from the island - my eyes on the looming mountains and the blazen red Torii gate floating familiarly on the water - I felt my Madre hook her arm around mine.
And with both our eyes on Miyajima, I muttered,
"I just can't believe it's over."
She squeezed my arm tighter, and with perfect wisdom and conviction, she said,
"It's not an ending, Deed - It's a really long beginning."
And I was reminded, yet again, of how smart my Madre is.
Things are just getting started.
Thank you, Miyajima...for your countless sunsets and your fried momiji-manju.
Thank you for showing me how obnoxious and how beautiful deer can be.
I won't forget your wooded trails or your winding streets - your old shops, your sea breeze, and your character....your melon pan ice cream or your oysters.
You've given me memories I won't ever forget...and you'll always hold a special place in my heart.
This isn't 'Sayonara', Miyajima.
It's 'Mata ne'.
I know we'll meet again.
And I can't wait:)