After LSU, I thought I would move to New York (doesn’t everyone from a small town?) After a year working in advertising for a company I like to call Fucker Johnson, I hated work in the degree that I had just received. (ssshhh, don’t tell the folks who paid!) Baseless dreams thwarted, I seized on the opportunity to go west instead.  (My slovenly behavior on visits home caused my Mom to dub me “the guest from the west.”) I had no job or prospects, just my cousin who had moved to Phoenix to go to college because her brother was stationed there with the Air Force.

I really came to love my time out there, but it never grew familiar, and I did not mind when I moved again after 4 years to Florida, then Ohio, then West Virginia.  These moves were all related to the ex’s job and we only stayed in each place for 1-2 years.  He got laid off during the baseball strike and had the nerve to insist that we only relocate to a place where he could get a job.  Ahem, I never got that consideration, West Virginia!

I’m thinking on this today, as I just returned from a trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado.  Jim also went west after college, to Denver for a few years before being transferred and then stuck in New Orleans during the oil bust.  There are fond memories to be had in the early years of independence, freedom and first taste of our own money.  For Jim that feeling lives in Denver, no, not in, near. “Denver sucks, it’s like Houston now.”

Jim was rehashing a conversation about what it would be like for the kids to live somewhere else, and I said for the first time, okay, let’s look at Colorado.  It stunned him for a minute.  Now that my mom is gone, maybe we should look at a quieter place, more nature, less over-stimulation, not so many things to do, not so much to hold on to and maintain.  And then I got assigned a work trip to Ft. Collins, CO.  Coincidence?

Colorado thoughts: what we would leave in New Orleans, how often I would come back for beading, for family?  Sell our house and Crane Creek and buy a small shotgun, rent out half?  Would we live in town to walk everywhere or out of town on land with water (please) and trees and animals passing through.  How bad is the winter? How eccentric are the people?  (New Orleanian concerns).  Loving the leaps ahead in green thinking; or did I just get exposed to the hippie-preppie side of CO?

Should we move, because we can?  Isn’t it right and good and joyful thing always and everywhere to access the best that you can afford for your family?  Or am I at the drive-through, ordering a white flight supreme?

I thought about moving until I drove back in the sunrise to the Denver airport.  It should have been a beautiful site, but for me it just felt desolate.  Am I such a flat-lander?  Used to seeing only what is right ahead of me or around me?  Not vast stretches of land to the mountain in the distance?

Does it feel desolate because it was my landscape during the greatest period of loneliness I have ever experienced?  Yes, striking out on your own when you are young is the compelling quest.  But you leave behind your extensive network of knowledge, comfort, shorthand conversations, laughter, sex, choice, and history.  That would happen again, you know, if we moved just because we can.