Thursday, March 8, 2012
In the fall of 1997 Paul Bunyan and I, hair (well, what was left of Paul Bunyan's) still wind blown from a cross country tour, pulled up to Frisco, Colorado in a Nissan Pathfinder chocked full of, well, I don't think we had much at that time. We bought a mattress, a futon and a cheap t.v. from Walmart.
I got a job as a fresh smiley hostess at the brewery on the corner and he was an instant star on the Breckenridge ski patrol.
There were nights when my butt cheeks would be so cracked from the dry air that I didn't know if I could quite make it up there. And there were days when Paul Bunyan would be gone on the river for so long that I didn't know if I could quite make it up there.
I had a brand new fresh M.A. in English in my back pocket and I was skiing all the way to April and drinking margaritas on the sun deck every afternoon. And yet something didn't feel right in the gut.
I tried to let my soul be free but it was trying to dig some soil to take root in- and well, the hardwoods don't take so well at that elevation.
So I made Paul Bunyan and brand new stinkin' puppy Sydney pack up the U-Haul to move east for a job I took in Philly, where houses were made from rocks and not sticks.
Paul Bunyan would have stayed forever. He would have found his own private stash of powder, marked his claim with a native American flag, and became a good old fashioned raccoon faced ski bum. No doubt.
But we put down our roots. She grew first and fast.
And then we officially became permanently grounded when these two trees came, at once. It was everything the palm reader from the Jersey shore told me it would be.
And we haven't gone on vacation, alone as a family, without grandparents, for ten years.
Until this house came up for rent on an on-line silent auction to raise money for Haiti relief...TWO years ago.
It's a cute little place (those are license plates on the sides!) with only 500 sq. feet of moving room.
We got the winning bid.
And every morning I woke up and looked out the window right at the mountain.
And every night I woke up and looked out the sky light and saw the stars.
And every day I would wonder how I could bake enough cookies to raise 2.6 million dollars to buy this place.
Or how many pretzels I could bake to buy this for $600,000.
But one thing that surprised me, besides how quickly my butt cheeks dried out (almost as much as my hair) was how I was able to set my soul free. I know that if I lived in a mountain town I would have my own set of worries like, if tomorrow would be a powder day or not. But I was surprised at how much my soul was refilled in that valley at 9,000 feet above sea level.
The blue sky that seems to go on forever, the Alpen glow, the dogs running free all over town, the beer, the dirty chips, the Baggo game at the lunch spot on the mountain, the music streaming from every chair lift, the local kids dirty from playing outside every day all day, the bikes with super wide tires to ride to the mountain in the snow, the TWO Thai restaurants, the ability to walk to everything (or ride the free gondola). I want it all- back.
We stopped at Breck on the way back down to Denver. It was crowded. Not the same.
My favorite twice baked wings at Downstairs at Eric's weren't even the same. Definitely not as good as I remember.
The brewery on the corner where I first learned that tourists are assholes- not as good as I remember. The jeweler where Paul Bunyan bought my engagement ring- gone. Our friends? Moved away. The people we used to be- not the same.
You see, I got these trees growing from my soul here in Vermont. They started to take up root here about ten years ago and now they're thriving in this weather. They've grown despite the rainy and soggy and not as clear blue as Colorado. But hey, they're hardwoods. And in the fall I love that they turn red and orange and purple and in the spring I love that they start to bud all green and I definitely, wholeheartedly, believe that in the winter they warm my soul more than those spindly little pines ever could.