Holy shit. What have I done. Where am I?
I left everything I know to focus on what I know best.
Just two weeks earlier I spent 36 hours in this tiny town I’ve never heard of before in southwest Colorado. I liked it’s charming single block downtown, panoramic mountain views and relatively warm weather for 7,000 feet elevation in March enough but did not anticipate in any way that I’d be spending the month of April altitude training here. It’s funny how one road trip leads to an epic run turns into a climbing trip and suddenly I’m staying with a super rad couple (Sarah and Thor who own and operate Alpacka Raft) whom I met at one dinner party where we feasted on mushrooms, wine and communal tubs of Ben and Jerry’s. Today I woke up in a valley surrounded by nothing but mountains, a front yard pond reflecting a cotton candy sunrise over Mesa Verde National Park and aeropress coffee ground prepared fresh while Thor listens to opera.
I sip my coffee and flash back to a backpacking trip in the Sierras two summers ago where I chatted my love for wilderness and solitude with a guy on the trail, “Be careful, you’re gunna keep moving farther and farther into the sticks. Mammoth is going to feel like a megalopolis soon!” And it kind of does now. After two months on a remote 13 acre ranch in Arizona I’m now settling into life on 35 acres even farther removed from strip mall society, suburbia and the safety of living a conventional life. Thank fucking goodness.
I’ve been warned that there isn’t anything to do here in this town of 1,000 people but I wonder what they are talking about? There are endless trails begging me to explore them (including snow free dirt roads at 8,000 feet and singletrack winding through ancient ruins), a bakery lined with Grateful Dead banners to satisfy the fat kid in me, a brewery with a tasty porter, a cute yoga studio, girl’s night shenanigans with Sarah and my new friend Lizzy, a beautiful porch where I can write stories. I’m two hours out from all of my favorite places in eastern Utah. There are no less than 50 singing birds to watch outside the big open windows throughout the day. I am literally growing new red blood cells even when I’m doing nothing at this ideal elevation. The yoga teacher asks us to chant, “I am that. I have arrived. I am home.” Right here, right now I am all of these things. I am.
This region is brimming with ancient history, ruins, art and stories. Ironically, in my current nomadic state, I find myself gravitating to trail runs that take me past archaeological sites and cave dwellings hidden deep within the canyons of the southwest. The ancient Puebloans, who lived their life literally on the edges of these canyons, vanished without a trace and no one to this day knows exactly what happened, where they went or why. What were they running from? As I move past the abandoned homes I instead wonder, “What were they running TO?” I’m still figuring this out for myself, but it seems like the neighborhoods of the ancient ones are surely a stop along my way.
And despite this simplicity and beauty I still I felt myself being overwhelmed by the newness of it all. The freedom of that blank canvas—when I released expectations and planning to let the muse take over life started to get more colorful than I ever imagined. Rainbow is my favorite color and the spectrum of brilliance is expanding before my wide eyes. Sometimes it’s so bright it feels blinding. The pace towards my dreams began to accelerate to a pace that took my breath away and left my heart racing. Be it running, driving or even sitting in place my life is moving, shaking, dancing, living, breathing. Often I feel so many emotions all at once and it can often feel like too much to bear, comprehend or certainly explain. And then I whisper to myself, “I am that. I have arrived. I am home.” At home in my own body, my own soul. A place on the edge of everything and anything to love and call my own.