Identity and place

7 Jul

It’s been nice to be back here in Gothic for a while.  Besides the very welcome help with child-wrangling, food, and other necessities of daily life, the gorgeous scenery, and the fact that it’s not in the 90s, it’s nice to be somewhere familiar.  I could hike/climb/mountain bike/drive in any direction and know (for the most part) where I’d end up, where there’s fishing, where there’s edible mushrooms to look for in wet Augusts, some of the history of the place, etc.

Or at least, I could if I didn’t have three kids.

Moon’s old enough now I can remember what I did here at her age, but of course being her own person, and having not grown up here, she also isn’t going to choose to do the same things.  She just hasn’t been exposed to the outdoors that much- it’s been hard to get out of town while living in Seattle, despite the proximity to great camping, etc.  Theatre, the house, and other things just took up too much of my “free” time.  For the most part she’d be happiest just staying in Nonnie and P-Pop’s cabin playing ponies, and eating nothing but rolls, hot dogs, and string cheese.  Hard sometimes not to break in to the “back in my day..”s, but she’s very much her own kid.

What’s also been interesting is just noting my own differences here.  It’s easy sometimes to fall in to old routines when going to old homes with your parents, but it’s been a little different this time- whether because I’m dragging along so many of my own kids, or because we’re sleeping in another cabin, or what, I’m not sure.  Still, I’ve found it generally easier to just “be” here, having spent enough summers here working part-time or not at all.   Much of my time here was spent as the only person my age, without TV or movies, either reading books, drawing, or going outside to bike, fish, hike, etc.  Now most of our time is, as always, taken up with child-wrangling, and I’m sad we haven’t been able to actually go out and see/do/experience much of what I’d hoped to share with my family. It’s just hard to get everyone ready to go anywhere, to work around feeding & nap schedules, sunscreen the crew, figure out how we’re getting anywhere since we take up a whole car ourselves… so some of that may need to wait until the kids are all a bit older- but by then, the rest of us are a bit older too.

I remember finding out about the first of my grandparents to die, while out in my parent’s cabin here, 25 years and a few weeks ago.  His wife, my last remaining grandparent (having seen two husbands die, and suffering from a variety of ailments), is now seeking hospice care, and we’ll be cutting our stay here a day short so I can fly out of Denver to go see her.  There’s no more denying that I’m becoming the middle generation, instead of the kid, and relations to family members are all being reflected upon somewhat.  I’ll be overlapping for an evening with my older brother, who I far too rarely see, with my father (who we’re here with now), and I think both of his brothers- one whom we visited last month on the first leg of our journey in his ranch in Naches, WA, and the other of whom we’ll see much more of after the journey is over, as he currently lives in Northern Virginia.

The idea of Importance of Place has been highlighted in their recent conversations- my Uncle’s place in WA has really come to define and reflect him, as has Gothic for my parents, and to some degree my grandmother’s place in Vermont, purchased after the death of my grandfather.  My daughter still treasures the last small vial of maple syrup from my grandmother’s place there.

In retrospect, this really wasn’t a bad place to grow up, or at least spend parts of it.  Crested Butte would be a great place to raise a family, for those who can find a way to afford to do so… which I don’t think will be me.  It’s a rare gem, geographically of course but also for being small town that’s in no way small-minded.

I do hope to return some time in the next few years, and can only hope to do so under better (or at least more freeing) terms than mid-move with the cats and very young kids.

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One Response to “Identity and place”

  1. Pitter July 8, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    You really can’t go home again, can you? It’s a lesson I didn’t learn until my move west, when I drove by my hometown rather than stop.

    It’s a strange feeling–nostalgic and yet freeing at the same time.

    Safe journeys from here on out.

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