Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Between


As I start this, I am on my way down from the height of Breckenridge, Colorado, back to sea level in Houston, Texas. I am truly in between.
Part of me wants to stay up here or near hear forever. Sure, its understandable to want to stay on vacation, but I mean more than that. I’d like my life and work to be in the mountains. I’d like my view to be far and vertical rather than restricted by my own yard fence or the roof line of the neighbor’s McMansion.
And yet I wonder if it is even possible to bring my life and work to the mountains, or if I’d really want to. There’s something about being in the high country that does not tolerate normalcy and work-a-day stuff.
If you are cycling a mountain pass, or running a trail at 10,000 feet, or riding 100 miles through a valley and into a canyon or especially if you are climbing a “Fourteener,” it seems like certain things melt away. Sure, you can distract yourself with the fun of biking and running and taking pretty pictures, but there seems to be more than that.
Certain concerns strangle for lack of oxygen. Certain modern pollutants and whirlygigs are choked out by the sharp purity of human powered locomotion, subsumed in footsteps and pedal strokes and energy created by life rather than by burning former life. Some anxieties cannot compete for attention when more important things to decide--things like where your next footstep goes in the next millisecond whilst suspended in mid-air running a trail or how strong to push off in order to maintain an aerobic burn rate. Divided focus is not a luxury you can afford at times like those. And in the end some nonessential things are just too heavy to be carried when the grade is steep enough and the challenge high enough.
But then again, some of those things you forget or leave behind while climbing are not disposable. My main job is not leisure athlete. My real job is dad and husband. I perform my daily tasks as appellate law nerd to fund those dad/husband responsibilities, and I have not yet mastered the art of providing home and hearth in a manner that is consistent with abandoning the sultry flatlands of Houston. There is some chance I could master that balance if I put my mind to it, but therein is difficulty and much inertia.
Houston is easy and familiar and cheap, if hot a miserable four months a year. There is a big house and a big yard and a new public school and a good job. If I consulted a headhunter, I could doubtless find some type of acceptable position suitable for an uber law nerd to keep us clothed and fed and comfortable in Boulder or Denver. But how much smaller would the house be? Would the schools be as good? How much more time or how much less money or how much more hassle would a new job be? How fair to ask Superpounce to uproot from a good group of friends at age 12? And to be fair, I have friends too. I am reluctant to leave them, even with Colorado in the balance.
The consensus for a move is not there as of now, and though I could probably force the issue economically, I don’t want the weight of such a unilateral decision when (as inevitably occurs with any move) the pack opines, “I wish we were back home.”
And so I wait and wonder. Can it occur? Will it occur? Am I “balancing” or copping out?
All the while the mountains are there. They beckon and wait and they will be there whenever I return. They’ll still be there. They’re always there.

4 comments:

Kim said...

you made some pretty valid points my friend. every time im driving 30+ minutes just to get out of the city to go biking i wonder what it would be like to live in a place where i could leave from my doorstep and have mountain views from my backyard.

stronger said...

There's a lot to be said about waking up every single day and saying to yourself "I love where I live." The ocean never called to me. Neither did the humidity.

Denver/Boulder is a different experience. You think you'll take off for the mountains every chance you get...but those chances are weighed by the sometimes 4-6hr traffic ride back to Denver. (when you live on this side- you're always heading in the right direction).

You only have 6 more years with that pretty girl. The only thing that will change in CO is, unfortunately, more beetle kill. Oh, and it isn't spring/summer and fall here most of the year. :)

Jumper 2.0 said...

I have always loved the idea of living in Colorado. But honestly if I was able to choose, bring friends, etc. I would live somewhere in the area around Charlottesville Virginia north through areas of Pennsylvania. I love the valleys but the mountains are smaller and wooded and I love the fact that every season is about 3 months long. I get to enjoy every season but not the extremes!

Still, you got me interested, so I looked up "cost of living in Boulder, Co" and used a calculator with the result of having a loss of over $15000 in disposable income if I moved there from the Twin Cities. OUCH!

Spokane Al said...

I wonder if those mountains are nearly as attractive in February as they are in August. As I live through cold/snowy winters each year, Houston appeals to me very much during those dark, short days.