One year in Colorado
I still haven't climbed Longs Peak. But we have enjoyed one year in Colorado, living in the forested hills behind the Flatirons — a home between the cliffy edge of the Great Plains and the towering Continental Divide. We love it here. Our "Ugh, Front Range" friends crinkle their noses, but really, anything that's not to love here, the Bay Area had times ten. With the exception of "people who are better than you at everything," of course. Boulder's sheer concentration of smart, fit, successful people is staggering. Still, the crowds are smaller, and traffic is negligible (of course it's still annoying.) Yuppies are prominent, but still greatly outnumbered by genuine, interesting people that you want to get to know. There are a lot of white people here. I rank among them so I certainly can't criticize. I do miss the cultural diversity of San Francisco.
Of course there are other things I miss about California. Sometimes I think back to my favorite places — the Marin Headlands, Black Mountain, Old Tree — and feel heartsick for all the days gone by. But I lived in California for five years, and I can't say I ever felt truly at home there. Our apartment always felt like the place were we slept between travels. The Santa Clara Valley was a place where I went to the dentist and the doctor, where I bided time until we could move back to Alaska. Now that I'm in Colorado, I'll probably still bide that time ... but I feel more authentic when I call this place "home." It does help to live in a beautiful house in the ponderosa forest, a place where I can both act like the hermit writer that I am at heart, and jet to town anytime to have dinner with friends, visit my cozy, locally-owned gym, shop at Trader Joes, steal a few hours of work at The Cup, eat a salad at Mad Greens (I love that place.)
It also helps that Beat is much happier in his work in Boulder. At home he has so much more space for his engineering, sewing, and gear-making projects. I feel like I should make more efforts in the gardening department (meaning, more than none.) But allergies are still a concern (I had a serious reaction last year while pulling cheat grass and never tried it again, although I can wear a mask and cover all of my skin.) Still, I can't let go of the conviction that any time spent outdoors is best spent on the move. Luckily, the daffodils returned again this spring, the columbines and humming birds are on their way, and the natural landscaping is beautiful.
Boulder has been good for my medical needs, which have become surprisingly many in the past year. I appreciate the medical professionals I've worked with here.
And of course there are the adventure opportunities. I haven't climbed Longs Peak, and sometimes I feel almost guilty for my relative neglect of the nearby mountains. There's just a lot to enjoy right outside the front door.