I’m wandering child on shoulder through the graveyard of my own backyard. We’re here to visit an old friend. He’s nestled beneath the roots of an ancient fir. In spring I find him under a blanket of purple calendula, the soft white blossoms of a mountain plum swaying over his head. Today the ground is like old canvas. He left so quickly: diagnosis and departure. We gathered our memories around us like sandbags before a flood but there simply wasn’t time. I remember his eyes: soft and loving, then suddenly dull.
We say a prayer and then follow the land’s contours, up through the dark forest to the ridge top, a celebration of golden grass, mountain sun and morning shadow. Below I see the swale of Kelly East, where we once owned a lot and dreamed of moving to Boulder. I see Boulder Canyon, and the ridge Ash and I climbed to celebrate a promotion at Crispin. I see the summit of Green Mountain and the tip of the First Flatiron, which seemed so wild and remote on my first visit to Boulder 16 years ago. Beyond them I see the cozy little sprawl of Boulder itself, Arapahoe Avenue like a wound in its side.
This is where we’ve chosen to make our stand. It’s ours to make new. We see with fresh eyes what so many have already seen. we run old trails with new friends. We sit on old stones with new children.
At the sunset spot we touch the earth, my son’s son’s inheritance. The land is richer now that I see it for what it is: the beginnings of an adventure. The remains of an old life. A story we travel through again and again.