Our family just got back from a nearly three-week long vacation. We drove from Seattle, through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming down to Colorado. We swapped cars at my parent’s house and went on to Kansas to be with Karl’s dad before he went into open-heart surgery. After his dad made it successfully through the surgery and was in recovery, we drove back to Colorado for a relaxing week of visiting friends and experiencing some of what I know and love about my home town: Water World, Beau Jo’s Pizza, Casa Bonita, Colorado Mills, Heritage Square, the Renaissance Festival, The Market on Larimer Square, Lucille’s Creole Café, Snooze and much more. When we left Denver, we headed west to go through the ski towns of Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Vail and Beaver Creek and on to Glenwood Springs where we stopped off just long enough to introduce the kids to the natural sulphur hot springs the town is known for. We finished our trek through Colorado by driving through Grand Junction where I spent my freshman year of college and there I was also able to show Lucy and Peter the grand glory of the Colorado National Monument at sunset.
Next, it was on to Utah to travel through Moab near Arches National Park down to the corner of the state to re-enter Colorado again briefly to see Mesa Verde and end up at the Four Corners National Monument where we could all experience being in four states at one time. Afterwards, we drove along the outer rim of the gorgeous Lake Powell and ended up in Cedar City, Utah to stay with my dear friend Hope for just a day – long enough to visit the ranch where she works and catch chickens, feed horses, let baby calves suckle our fingers and scout out lizards and beetles. From there, it was a quick sprint back through Idaho and the corner of Oregon and into Washington to get home as quickly as possible as we had already spent nearly eight days driving.
The 10-state adventure was one we won’t likely make again in the near future. One generally doesn’t drive multiple hours to stand for mere moments at the Four Corners, which is out in the middle of virtually nowhere. So, we made sure to capture as much picturesque beauty and wonderful national spectacles that western America has to offer, even if only briefly.
The process was an interesting juxtaposition of saying hello and goodbye at the same time. I was introducing many things to my kids that I hadn’t seen since I was their age. And at the same time, I was saying goodbye to all that had been my familiar home for nearly 32 years, not knowing when we would be back to visit again. There were moments of nostalgia and downright glee, and also moments of pause to acknowledge that what was familiar to me as a child will be different from what is familiar to my own children. They will have different memories – ones of the Pacific Northwest. Instead of dry, desert climate attractions like Glenwood Springs and Mesa Verde, they will remember lush, damp forests of the Cascades and fresh, cool dips in the Puget Sound. I am excited at the new prospects of discovery for our family in an unfamiliar territory. And I am also saddened by the reality that what I now call home is no longer the mountainous, colorful terrain of Denver, Colorado.
I have been pondering what it means to say good-bye. I wonder about the value and significance of those two little words. They seem to hold great meaning by the sheer fact that many people do not like to say them. So, as I am finishing several chapters at once right now in my life, I will be reflecting more on endings and what they mean to me now, and perhaps what I’d like them to mean to me in the future. I hope you’ll join me as I embark on a new journey – the journey of saying good-bye.