Friday, May 8, 2009

Home

A strange and eerie feeling overwhelmed me last night. Driving back to Denver from Greeley, the moon was just a sliver from full, excessively bright and blocked intermittently by high, fast-moving clouds that shone luminescent silver against the blackness of space. I found myself staring at the sky, concurrently fearful and awed. I thought of flying, and was afraid of climbing above the clouds and thus giving up what little shield I had against that cold and infinite beyond, afraid of relinquishing the relative safety of earth to the harshness of sky; but at the same time, I was struck by an awe, by an inexplicable desire to climb above those clouds and expose myself to everything, to reach out as far as I could and touch the frigid orb of the moon, the glassy sphere of stars. The two sensations were too intertwined to rend. Even when I looked away, the feeling was there, sitting and glowing like a lump of smoldering coal in my stomach.

Since returning to Colorado, I have experienced what may only be called a weight, a pull that is both from without and within. Something about this place gets into your blood; it can be ignored, but it is always there, coursing through your veins and, consciously or not, drawing you back home. The feeling is almost a physical pain, an ache in your heart that cannot be assuaged. The deliciously fresh air, the savagely blue skies and sunlight which can only come from high altitude, the earthy reality of the mountains, the brittle green-brown of the cottonwoods, the calls of ravens and bellowing elk, the chilly, infinite vision of the Milky Way on a clear winter night - it all speaks to me, in a way I cannot explain, nor can I refuse it. My friend calls it a loyalty, a trait of my own that I have attached to this place, but it is more than that. It is not just me.
It is home.

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