Saturday, October 17, 2015

Rocky Mountain Thoughts

I find myself heading back East in a very different state than when I departed some two weeks ago. Over the last two weeks, I spent my days in Boulder and Denver. And I loved it.

I'm just coming back from volunteering for 3 days on Pachamama Farm. Pachamama Farm is an organic farm, owned by some children of family friends—Allie Dodge and her husband Oliver. They happened to be on vacation in Italy, but were kind enough to let me stay in their beautiful home. Allie's parents were there as well, as they were moving into their own new house nearby.

I worked alongside a nice fellow named Alex, who showed me the ropes of the farm. We had a great rapport, and got on well. From morning to afternoon, I worked in the fields. I harvested carrot seeds; I picked melons (and tossed eaten or rotten melons); I moved a fence; I picked red and yellow onions and placed them to dry in a shed; I fixed a water pump; I fed two lovely piggies named Thelma and Louise.

I really loved being connected to the land; to focusing on endless tasks that would not be finished in a single stretch; to the zen of focusing on the present found in the task.

I am not a great farmer by any stretch, but I was at-least a good body who could assist, and make the process move faster through my dedication to the task.

And doing this amid the pastoral splendor was profound. Staring up from the fields at the Grand Tetons, or at fields swaying in the midday winds. Or watching elks graze across the verdant fields at the golden dawn.

While being far from simple, it was a simpler life that I enjoyed. I liked feeling my hands-- usually tapping away at the keyboard, begin to get calloused. I felt proud at the end of the day of the work I had accomplished.

Now back to Colorado. I thoroughly enjoyed Boulder and Denver, and I am considering settling down there for a stretch.

As someone who has been everywhere and nowhere, it might be nice to be somewhere.

For starters, apparently Colorado gets over 300 days of sun. I can handle cold if it is sunny, but I can't handle grey in any temperature.

Moreover, I liked the feel of it being neither East Coast (of which I move slower) or West Coast (of which I move faster), but a nice middle ground. It reminded me a bit of Texas in such regards.

Furthermore, there are endless opportunities to explore a region I don't especially know. I would love to explore more of Colorado, as well as Montano, Idaho, Wyoming and the Dakotas. As one who has been to more countries than states, these are the states would most like to fill in.

Boulder may lack a bit of the diversity I require, but Denver has that more so. I probably need a bigger city that Denver offers, and need a bit of the grit and grime it holds compared to Boulder.

After a decade on the move, it might be nice to plant some roots for a spell. I imagine there is a lot I could do in Colorado, ranging from work at a university to something in State government (Colorado para-diplomacy?) to something I haven't even considered yet.

And I already have a bit of a network there, from friends from many different points in my life.

I would be lying if Colorado's tolerant position towards certain things I enjoy didn't factor into this equation; I wouldn't be writing this at present if it weren't the present case of Colorado. But it isn't the only factor by any means, and wouldn't be the driving factor if other things didn't loom large. I have never seriously considered moving to Amsterdam, despite its similar tolerance.

Something I remarked on the first day when I arrived to Boulder: I have never felt so free in my life in America. That counts for something. It is nice to be on the right side of the law. There are very few things I do that can get me in trouble, so to have something I enjoy be declared kosher is a very nice, refreshing and liberating change. So much of the time, I find myself trying to minimize the risks in the situation I find myself; taking one significant risk out of the equation is in itself significant.

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