Sign Posts of Living in a New Place

Winter                                                                        Settling Moon

A few sign posts of living in a new place.

Wearing: cowboy cut wranglers. Only thing the Big R store had in my size. They’re generous in the leg and around the cuff, better to fit over cowboy boots. I’m wearing them now and I recognize the slightly puffed out legs, the break of the cuff on the shoe. Looks cowboy.

Language: Both Mike (Fence Guy) and Eric (electrician) referred casually to back East. This was different in subtle ways from other times I have heard it. First, they included me. There was Mike, Eric and me, here in Colorado and all that rest was back East. Second, they meant everything east of Colorado including the plains states and what I know as the Midwest. Third, I think they also meant treed, watered, agricultural. We’re here now, out West and we came here from back East.

Terrain: Right at our house, which is on a level area several hundred feet in width and depth, maybe a couple of thousand, you couldn’t really tell visually that we are on a mountain. Right now, of course, shortness of breath though less than a week ago, is a signal. That will recede. Up here in the loft I can see Black Mountain and gain sense of our location. What will really tells we’re living in the mountains is that once we leave the Denver metro we start climbing. The climbing continues into the retail center at Aspen

Park and then, beyond that we climb again going up Shadow Mountain Drive. In reverse, when we go out, we go down, down into Aspen Park or Evergreen, down into Denver. These are not the flat lands on which I grew up, gridded in square miles, a neat definition of a section of land. Here mother earth has folded herself, upthrust young rock and made mountains.

Media: In the Brooks Forest Inn pub where Kate and I ate on Sunday, it was the Broncos on TV and Bronco jerseys that dotted the tables and bar. The excitement and eagerness was for a different regional champion than the Vikings.

Body: This process of acclimatization constantly reminds both Kate and me that this place is different. We can’t feel our lightness, but we are just a touch lighter up here. We notice most the difference in available oxygen, that most necessary of elements. Air hunger, which I experienced a couple of nights, is a fear primal and terrible. The body wants to flee, get safe, back when it can breathe. If it can’t flee, then, it can and will adapt. That’s happening now.

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