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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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Leaving home

1 Jun

Saying goodbye to our home has been harder than I expected.  Up until this we’d moved every year for at least six years.  For a while I was applying for police jobs, and my background forms always had lots of attached pages; when asked to list my addresses and jobs for the last ten years, it always ran in to a second page.

But this was our first house.  We did so much work on it.  Our children were born while there.  Our daughter learned to walk there.  She’s been a trooper, hiding in her room so we wouldn’t see her crying when we sold her bed… it helps that we’re now staying in her best friend’s basement for a couple weeks.  But this is rough on all of us, more than I thought (and I generally approach things like this in the assumption they’re going to suck, hoping to be pleasantly surprised).  It’s not just the room, or the stuff (two trips to the dump Sunday morning!), but perhaps the intangibles.

The video geek in me is a bit reluctant to post this purely due to video quality- to anonymize it without the original tapes (now all packed up) it’s been run through enough filters, uploaded and downloaded and recompressed, etc… anyway, it looked much prettier before all that.  But you go to blog with the content you have, not the content you want.  I’d been playing with and testing a new video rig (thus the learning curve on pulling focus), and wanting to get a bit more footage of our home.

At this point I don’t think it had really set in for her what leaving really meant.  For that matter, I’m not sure it has yet for any of us.  We’re still in the process of finding out.

So now we’re living out of suitcases for more than two months.

The cats are doing as well as could be expected; one of them we thought had run away last night, but apparently she just hid in a closet box or something and then fell asleep for a few hours- she’d gotten scared by some older neighborhood kids wanting to see the visitor’s cats.   The other (the smart one, generally) managed to find a way this morning to crawl through a hole in the ceiling of the basement, up through a hole in the kitchen floor, to get in to the verboten upstairs (with the other cat that actually lives there).

So what makes a home?  Hearts can be spread all over these days, and half of us don’t wear hats regularly.