“You’ll miss the trees.”

That simple statement someone made to me recently in the wake of hearing that I was moving from the Portland, Oregon area to Boise, Idaho was true enough.

The trees really aren’t something you fully appreciate when you’re slogging through nine months of rain to get to three glorious months of summer. They’re the reminders that “it takes a lot of water to keep things this green.” That’s almost like an unofficial mantra or something around these parts.

But truly, their absence in the “City of Trees” (yes, that’s Boise’s official nickname) will be felt. Trees provide visual interest; they shift the focus from the horizontal plane by creating some vertical variety. The Boise area, by contrast, feels flatter and a little less alive ecologically without a skyline shaped by an abundance of trees. (The sky DOES feel bigger though, but we all know that’s because of Idaho’s proximity to Montana).

So yeah, I’ll miss the trees. But that comment stood out to me because the things I’ll miss when I move in two days are far more specific than just evergreens. Things like Shell Station burritos and sunrises over Jonsrud Viewpoint. Things like the Tickle Creek Trail and getting cake at the Sandy Fire Station every summer. Things like leading worship for a church body every weekend, weekly meetings with friends and mentors, my first house, my perch at the Sandy Starbucks, and being an established part of a community… being known.

Heck, I’ll even miss the Cartel. (In case you haven’t been paying attention or are new to the party, the Cartel is a group of older folks who once ruled Sandy Starbucks with an iron fist, taking certain seats and pressuring all who would sit in them to vacate immediately.) I’m sure they’ll think they won the war and that I surrendered. They’ll probably wonder where I–the only resistance–went off to. Or they’ll just know, because they probably have an Idaho chapter, too.

I’ll miss randomly bumping into so many folks who (mostly) offer a smile and a hug. I’ll mourn the fact that those “we gotta get together sometime” conversations never met their full potential. I’ll miss my family, my East Hill family, my Abundant Life friends, my Sandy community, my Oregon core.

It’s bigger than trees, but not dissimilar. Like the rings that comprise tree trunks, all this was built over time, fortifying and expanding the foundation one concentric circle at a time. Life is people. And countless people have been planted into my life over the last 19 years since we came here from Florida–some growing into mighty redwoods, others content (and helpful) as healthy saplings.

But trees stay put. Relationships really are soil-specific, to the degree that close proximity matters in terms of day-to-day intentionality. And so as I leave, the trees stay, grounded and rooted in the soil of this place.

So I guess, to that end, I’ll miss the trees, and I’ll get busy planting when I head East.