Two months ago I commuted to Boulder in the a.m., checkbook in hand. Proper funds and proper planning culminated, a new set of keys to show for it all.

Repeatedly I find myself describing Denver to others, mostly as a “harsh yet consistent teacher”. It is the place where I finally turned inward, discovering my ground. It is where I spent years building relationship and learning from those I served in community mental health. It is where I stepped away from a commitment that bound me in fear, recognizing my resilience and undeniable will.

Denver housed my transformation. Though it can be bitter, temperature-wise and beyond, it is where I was reborn. During those last few weeks dwelling on historic (and filthy) Poet’s Row, preparing for life in Boulder felt much like gearing down– like taking a nap as I packed boxes, killing time as I cried, rereading Christmas cards from 2014.

Louisa May Alcott was my mother’s favorite author.

When I set out in search of my own apartment, the leasing agent inquired as to why I wanted to live in the building named after this elusive writer. To deem these urban professionals heartless is an unfortunate generalization.

I told her the truth: I admired all of the archaic buildings named after profound visionaries, but I was drawn most to the artist connected to my mother. Her cancer was not going to be cured, so I sought miracles elsewhere. The agent promptly pushed a wad of paperwork across the counter, evoking a sense of care. I borrowed her ink pen.

Three weeks later I hauled everything I could fit into the unit overlooking Sherman Street. 350 square feet of infinite possibility enveloped me, three windows carved into ancient walls. There was palpable refuge in the morning light–it is something I still miss. Over the course of a year, my mother visited the space, gifting me her childhood copy of Little Women. It resided rightfully on the window seal, eventually next to a glass blown urn, threaded with her ashes. These were the last items packed away before departing.

The world I cultivated there feels lifetimes away, now, though the magic yielded throughout the period remains. Both my cat and I have vivid memories, somatic storage, of the peace reclaimed during that period.

For me, autumn spurs reflection.

The learning curve of the mile high city served me well. I would change nothing.

 

 

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