I used to think of Leaving La Mancha as if it were an exodus.
But since its inception, the “Leaving” part of Leaving La Mancha has gotten to be less about losing La Mancha–I mean, less about exiting–and more about losing everything else.

Leaving La Mancha.
As if to say, what remains IS La Mancha.
Leaving ONLY La Mancha.
Or stylized as Leaving: La Mancha.

When you study the history of La Mancha both as the place and as the setting in Cervantes’ tale of Don Quixote, you’ll find two interesting points.
La Mancha is possibly derived from the Arabic word “al-mansha,” which means “wilderness.”
And the word mancha is said to mean “spot, stain, or patch” in Spanish. It was this that Cervantes used it for: a stain as on one’s honor–and thus an inappropriately-named homeland for a knight errant.

Translator John Ormsby believed that Cervantes chose it because it was the most ordinary, prosaic, anti-romantic, and therefore unlikely place from which a chivalrous, romantic hero could originate, making Quixote seem even more absurd.


This is what Leaving La Mancha is.
When all has faded away, what remains is La Mancha, the wilderness, the stain. The place we all can be ashamed of and yet the very place we all find ourselves. Though I think we find so much more here.
I think we find forgiveness.
I think we find acceptance.
I think we find love.

Because it’s here that we are free from everything that keeps us from seeing.
From experiencing.
From living.

There’s not much left that I find myself holding on to, and even that seems like I’m holding on to nothing.

But more and more I find I’m okay with it.
More and more I find that when there’s nothing else, what remains is La Mancha.

Everything will eventually fade away.
Leaving La Mancha.