With summer came sharp realizations, about landscapes and possibilities and adventure.
With spring came road trips and camping tents, and red dust painting every inch of my body. There were sharp sunsets in Arizona, the heat of the sun magnified by the earth – also red and sharp, cut into mesas and stacked mountains built in rock sheets and flat pebbles.
There were long roads in Utah. Mesas where sand dunes calcified into stone, creating bowls and ledges.There were cults and strange gas stations to the south, towns with stone walls and fortresses, side roads that lead to nothing, where I hunted for beer on a Sunday with little hope besides desperation.
There was the inevitable waiting for letters, for opportunities. But then there were camp fires, sweat, and whisky that tasted better for being hot and full of sand. Nights without dinner, just half melted chocolate and store brand oreo cookies.
The dogs escaped not once, but twice, chewing through their leashes in the Utah desert. We chased them on bikes through the sand dunes.
We drank coffee from a french press and savored the inability to sleep past 6 when the sun hit the earth and everything was wind and fire and red..
And we stayed there and biked there for weeks. And I worked from coffee houses and truck stops and stole wifi from unsuspecting cell phones and hotels. And we slipped in an out of states and wilderness areas. And we slept and woke and moved and built a home every day again and again until home was a verb we kept finding and imagining one night to the next.
Moab was hot and full of stone, polished until it was sticky. And we road our bikes and sat, dirty and red, in coffee houses, drinking coffee and eating ice cream.
And I forgot about everything but writing. I forgot about PhD programs and marketing and media. I forgot about applications, taxes, start ups, editors, deadlines. I forgot about everything beyond the story we were living and the words to describe it, later, when we threatened to forget it.
And then we came back to Crested Butte, and the words were there and it was summer. The rejection letters were there, and we smiled and were happy to have another chance to get it right, that is, to write and live the story without the need for outside validation.
It’s summer in Crested Butte, and it’s time to write again.