The making of a community is no easy thing. The best attempts often fail. You can understand exactly what makes a good community and spend large portions of your life studying just that and still not know how to make it happen yourself. A good community is a rare and precious thing and we lost one this weekend.
After seven years in Madison, Saturday night was the last night at The 605 Grille. No more Alpha King. No more panna cotta. No more running into everyone you know. No more seats at the bar. No more great, good place.
It is undeniably sad. Sad, of course, to lose the good folks who ran the 605, though their rest is well-deserved; running a restaurant is a grueling job. It’s sad to lose the food, the beer. The atmosphere. But losing the 605 is losing more than all of that.
None of the people who frequent the 605 are leaving. We’ll all still be here and there are other restaurants in town. There’s nothing to prevent us from running into each other from time to time. Nothing to stop us from keeping in touch.
But the particular set of moments and connections tied together by the physical space of the 605 are gone. As Wendell Berry might say, our lives all were all woven together for a while with the place and the people in it and that is lost. Something new will come. Life will go on. Impermanence is the nature of existence, after all.
I feel lucky to have been a part of this community for the last seven years. It made life richer and easier. It filled us up. I feel lucky to have known what we had before it was lost. It was important, and deserves to be mourned.
The last night at the 605 was like most nights at the 605–full of laughter and stories and friendship and family. It was the same as every night, just a little more bittersweet.