There’s something about being more than a mile above sea level and still feeling like you’re well below the mountains’ peak. It makes you humble. The sky is big. Bigger than anything you’ve ever imagined growing up in the East. You find little towns like Cordova and Madrid. Old mining towns where the promise of getting rich never seemed to fully pan out. All that is left of some of them are roads and crumbling buildings. Every so often you find a ghost town that’s been invaded by artists. The remnants of a drug store turned into an art gallery. The soda fountain intact.
You find a strange combination of people, all running from something in their lives. All wanting to be left alone. The new cowboys with their motorcycles and distrust of everyone they don’t instantly recognize. Artists wandering around bra-less, covered in tattoos, green hair and nose piercing. Mexicans whose families have lived on the land for thousands of years before there was any such thing as a Mexican.
Into this you pull your rented Lincoln towncar. A giant couch that screams tourist and you hope to not be noticed. You and your new wife enter this new world with a feeling of wonderment and awe. You’re like children ready to go out into the plains and soak it into your lungs. The sun, the snow, the rocks, the rivers, the mountains; they all leave their imprint on you. The soundtrack is silence, broken occasionally by the Rolling Stones (Daddy you’re a Fool to Cry) or the Doors (LA Woman). Just enough to remind you that you’re actually still in the world. That other people still exist and you haven’t left them behind.
Being out there, miles away from anyone else when it starts to snow and you think maybe this is what life is about. There is no meaning but soaking in times where you’re surprised and new again. Avoiding the rut of day-to-day life. Grabbing your wife’s hand and running headfirst into the dark. Maybe that familiar blue feeling way down in your stomach isn’t depression but boredom. A routine of getting up, going to work, coming home and going to bed. Buying useless shit and watching television on the weekends to change things up. Maybe that blueness is your brain telling you to breakout.
“Cut the shit buddy, get out there and live before it’s all over.”
And in those moments you remember all the times you’ve had this revelation and how every time it falls away. Forgotten until the next time, leaving only the nagging feeling in your bones to get out and run.