Glad We Live Here

Winter                                                            Valentine Moon

The dogs after delivery by Tom Crane
The dogs after delivery by Tom Crane and Kate, before the boxes

The move, two years plus later. On October 31st, Summer’s End of 2014, we closed on 9358 Black Mountain Drive. Later that same year, on December 20th, the Winter Solstice, we moved in. At the time we still owned our home in Andover, Minnesota. When the boxes piled up in all spaces of our new house, we looked at them, breathed in and out heavily and took a nap. We were to breathe in and out heavily for three months or so as our bodies adjusted to life at 8,800 feet.

The winter weather on Shadow Mountain that preceded and followed our move was snowy and cold. Even for two Minnesotans. We had to learn mountain driving on snowy, slick roads though the Jefferson County snowplows did do an excellent job of clearing and sanding our main road, Black Mountain Drive (Hwy. 78).

Progress, January 2015

Even so, living in the mountains was what we wanted and it was everything we hoped and more. Every drive took us past rocky, conifer covered mountain sides. We were on and among the Rocky Mountains.

Of course, yes, we moved out here to be closer to the grandkids and to Jon and Jen, family, 900 miles closer. Jen had expected us to move closer to them and was upset we decided to live in the mountains. We never did get her to understand that our move had two related, but distinct purposes: the first was to live in a place that we loved; the second to be with people we loved. Now that the divorce is over and the apres divorce time underway we are certainly glad we chose our home based on our dreams rather than hers.

Jon and Ruth clear our drive before the moving van comes
Jon and Ruth clear our drive before the moving van comes

Kate rapidly found a quilting group, the Bailey Patchworkers, and began meeting with them monthly. Out of that group came an invitation to a smaller group of needle workers who also meet monthly. I didn’t find that kind of local connection until a few months ago when we both started attending Congregation Beth Evergreen. Since then, I’ve also found Organizing for Action-Conifer. We’re both gradually becoming part of our community here in the mountains; actually, communities, because we have as much affiliation with Evergreen, perhaps more, than we do with Conifer.

It’s been a medically eventful two years for me with prostate cancer in 2015 and the total knee in 2016. Kate’s rheumatoid arthritis led to hand/wrist surgery over a year ago and she continues to have degenerative disc disease related pain. Combined with the divorce, which began in earnest in May of 2016 and continues as Jon still lives with us, it means we’ve been very inwardly and family focused the whole time so far. We both hope this year gives us a break on the medical front and that Jon finds a new home for himself, Ruth and Gabe.

fire mitigation, 2015. Just before the solar panels were installed.

Every once in awhile, we say to each other: I’m glad we moved here. And we are. The mountains teach us, every day, what it means to be mountains and what it means to live among them from snowy weather to elk and mule deer to rushing spring streams to less available oxygen. We’re very glad we’ve been here to support Jon and the grandkids. Those two reasons for the move have both manifested themselves in positive ways.

We’ve begun our third year on Shadow Mountain. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Hanukkah, 2016
Hanukkah, 2016