The symbols drawn from nature and suggesting change are used again in "Departure." It is spring rather than fall, as it was in "Sophistication," so instead of fallen leaves and mature corn we have the imagery of buds and seeds. George is to leave early in the morning on the westbound train, both symbolic details, so he rises at dawn and for a last time walks out on Trunnion Pike. Again we are made aware of the cycle of life and death, specifically the cycle of the seasons, as we read, "He had been in the midst of the great open place on winter nights when it was covered with snow and only the moon looked down at him; he had been there in the fall when bleak winds blew and on summer evenings when the air vibrated with the song of insects. On the April morning he wanted to go there again."
George becomes in this short tale the archetypal young man setting out to make his way in the city; appropriately, the city is not named. As the youth leaves his home town behind, he dreams a little about what his future life will be, then awakens from his reverie to realize that "the town of Winesburg had disappeared and his life there had become but a background on which to paint the dreams of his manhood." The young man is on his way.