On a year in Fort Collins
August 14, 2013: Max and I arrive in Denver International Airport at the outset of our new lives in Mountain Time. It is hectic and harried as Joseph drives us to find Max in the “pet cargo” section of the airport. I have seen eyes that big on a cat only in the presence of a great unknown. This qualified.
August 14, 2014: Max is outside lying under the shade of a juniper. His six months spent under a bed at The Pussy Palace with his adoptive, attentive and very loving cat-mom and dad are a memory and he wakes to chase a moth. Cosmo, his new pal, climbs five feet up a tree before he remembers he gets screamed at for doing that. The garden blooming around them creates all kinds of diversions. They are content.
As am I.
I feel small in the presence of mountains, but the good kind of small — happy that the grandeur around me lets me in. I am a part of it, in a way that I rarely felt part of the scratch and scrabble of New York. We drive into the Rockies and I breathe the thin air at 12,000 feet and know my heart is in my chest. I feel it.
I have grown a multitude of colors and textures from seed in the garden of the log cabin where Joseph and I have lived since February. They are tearing down Aggie Village where he lived when I arrived. There is no small nostalgia is losing a part of our map. We make new footsteps here, conscious that they, too, are temporary — and savoring each as it tamps the dry clay around us. Friends and family enjoy the space with us. I can hear the roots digging in.
We are learning how to be here. How to be with each other. How to adjust to the sun and the shade. It is a sweet space of stars and laughter. It is sometimes a hard space but we work with that, too. Raccoons eat our compost, friends die without notice, the basil refuses to grow and I struggle sometimes to find the right combination “me” and “him” and “us.” At least four or five times a day (and sometimes up to ten) I look around me and I am thankful.
For love, for the man who moves forward with me in this rare space, for the cats who awaken with us in the morning with a scent of pine in their fur, for friends near and far and for the explosion of life that has painted my garden and my heart with myriad new colors.
Thank you Joseph. And Max. And Cosmo. And Colorado.