Seriously, how DID I get here? Sometime I’ll get up in the middle of the night to get a drink or go to the bathroom and in that hazy place between awake and asleep, I will ask myself that very question. One day I’m tucked away in Leawood, KS, living my life, planning new adventures, wondering what’s next for me, and the next day I’m looking at the beautiful snow-covered Buffalo Mountain through a wall of windows then down to the 5th Avenue Grill across the street, wondering if carry out would be a good idea because the roads are snowy and slick and my cupboards are bare. I wake up to vistas I never could have imagined, but here they are, presenting themselves in their full glory right through my bedroom windows. People are now asking me which restaurants are the best, where’s the best place to snowshoe and what bus do I get on to go to Copper Mountain?? And the strange thing is, I know the answers.
I’ve been here 5 minutes. I’ve been here all my life. And they both feel right.
So, I could route this story clear back to my birth, a coasting downhill drive to St. Anthony’s hospital in Denver from Evergreen, my young Dad at the wheel, my anxious 9-months pregnant Mom in the passenger seat, hoping for a gas station and green lights, but I digress. Still, I do believe that my birth and early years in the mountains of CO have played a role in all of this.
Last spring, during a ski trip to CO with the man I was dating, I made the decision to rent a place in Frisco for a month the following summer, because I like Frisco, but even more than I like Frisco, I like an adventure. It’s small. It’s charming, it’s beautiful, and I knew I’d have no problem feeling right at home. Initially, the plan was to rent a place with said boyfriend, but I decided I needed my own place, my own space, my own story. Truly a decision whose merit I’d come to appreciate months later.
Fast forward to the months later when said boyfriend decided he just wanted to be friends, code for “I’ve found someone else, but would like to leave the door open a crack, just in case.” This was told to me two days before my Frisco adventure month, which over the course of the past few months, had changed to my Frisco 2 1/2 month adventure. Once I gathered up the strength to make the initial commitment, adding to it by a month and a half was easy and even easier through email, which hardly made it seem real. But real it was, and with courage, fear and a full car, I headed west on I-70, ready, I thought, for what was ahead.
Initially, my time in CO felt energizing – a new town, new scenery, new discoveries, a very big adventure, but the stars in my eyes soon faded after a few days of mornings rolling into afternoons, while I was still trying to map out my day and then it would rain and all bets would be off. Tomorrow…. tomorrow I will do more than just put on the hiking boots. I will take them for a walk. I was anxious and ready to dig into this new life, but what I really needed was time – time to survey the emotional damage, stop the bleeding and let the healing begin from the scars of a relationship gone wrong with previously mentioned guy. My sister, Robin, told me to look for a book store. Book stores are always a good place to go – to hang out, to meet people, to buy books, to read. And so the next day I walked down Main Street and lo and behold, just blocks from my condo was a charming bookstore and tea bar.
I promptly introduced myself to the woman behind the counter, (Karen), who just happened to be the owner, and was determined to not leave the store until I had some semblance of a relationship with her, albeit maybe not a let’s grab dinner relationship, just yet, but someone who I could exchange pleasantries with when I saw her. It was an easier task than I had anticipated and we connected very naturally (I’m sure she’d agree with this assessment…) with a lot of common ground between us, the “only” two single women in our age group in town, for starters. At one point she asked me if I lived here or if not, was I looking for a place in Frisco because she was getting ready to sell her place. Not wanting to commit, to even a conversation about real estate at that point, I told her no, I was just renting.
Actually, I had looked at a few places for sale in town, mostly out of curiosity, and was sorely disappointed with the spaces but even more so, their price tags. I had pretty much settled back into the mindset that I was here for the summer, that’s all, and would enjoy my time here for what it was… an extended vacation. This all changed several days later when my daughter in law, Brooke, was in town, and Karen asked me once again if I wanted to see her condo and with some nudging from Brooke, I caved and said yes. I had made a point of bringing Brooke into the bookstore with the pretense of showing her it’s charm and all over good vibe, but in reality, I wanted to introduce her to the only person I knew in town. I think my family worried about me out here all alone and perhaps seeing that I knew one person in town, hence was “connected” (I’m not counting the waiter at my favorite breakfast place), she could be my messenger of hope to the other children, insuring them that Mom’s OK, after all she has met a friend. Karen, said she was planning on putting the condo on the market the following week, not to add pressure, but having a look now would be timely. The door was unlocked so we walked the short block over from the bookstore to have a look.
Now before I take you inside the condo with Brooke, I’ve got to back up and mention that two days prior (or a day before Brooke’s arrival), while taking inventory of my emotional wounds on my back deck, I saw a double rainbow. I had only seen one double rainbow before in my life, ironically only a few miles from where I stood that night. The last time was on a family vacation several years ago at the gas station in Dillon, CO. The double rainbow last summer looked a whole lot different to me though, in part because it felt like it was only for me, appearing exactly when I needed it then quickly disappearing into the sky as quickly as it had arrived. It was my glimmer of hope and I knew right then and there that I may be emotionally wounded and even bleeding, but I was going to be OK. I had found my soft spot to land, for now, and it was a softly colored arc in the eastern sky of Colorado. Double rainbow, double luck and the next day was when Brooke and I would go into the bookstore for a book, an introduction and unexpectedly, the purchase of a mountain home.
After walking up the 19 interior steps inside Karen’s condo, Brooke and I reached the landing, and looked at each other with wide-eyed surprise. She then said to me, “You live here, Laur!” And without hesitation, I responded, “I know!” When you know it’s right, it’s right and 10 minutes later we were back in the bookstore with me wanting to lay my claim on the condo before anyone else could.
Fast forward a few days to a meeting I had with an attorney to look over the contract, which was drawn up literally days after I saw the property, a process far easier than I had ever anticipated. The attorney did have one question for me though…
“What did you put down for earnest money? I don’t see anything in the contract.”
“Oh, there isn’t any, I answered. We sealed the deal with a toast and a hug instead.”
“Hummm, OK, well… it is Summit County!”
And that’s how I bought a house in Summit County, CO – with trust, confidence and two glasses of wine raised in a toast followed by a hug.
I never had an inkling of hesitancy or lack of trust during the whole transaction. The fact that Karen was moving a short two blocks away gave me tremendous security in the whole process as I knew she was right around the corner if I had any questions or problems. The whole process flowed with such ease that I had to keep reminding myself of the enormity of what I had just done.
Due to greater distractions, I didn’t buy the book I had gone into the bookstore for that day, but I did pick up the local hiking guide book instead, and used it so much over the next few months that its pages needed the help of two rubber bands to keep it all in one pile. That dog-earred pile now has a very prominent place on my bookshelf. It represents far more than just a hiking guide to me now. It became the guide to the mountains that eventually led me right back to myself.
I’m still overwhelmed, not necessarily by my decision, but that fate or my intention or perhaps a bit of divine intervention has landed me in such an amazing place. I’m continually awed by the constantly changing beauty of this place and don’t think I’ve ever grabbed my camera, (correction… phone) more to catch a photo, because I swear, the scenery completely changes with the changing light. Just yesterday, I was balancing precariously on the edge of my bathtub to catch a photo out of the window directly above it of Peak One with the snow sparkling through a veil of sunshine. I felt an urgency because it may never look like that again and it was beautiful.
My daughter-in-law, Brooke, said it so eloquently in one of her blog posts…
“Doing what you think will make you happy shouldn’t be hard, but the hardest part might be figuring out what that is and that once you realize where that happiness resides, there’s no running from it.”
She nailed it and because she was right there with me when I stumbled onto this and saw the ease at which I danced into this next phase of my life, her words are backed with history.
“There’s no running from it…..”
I think all of the hiking I did last summer (33 hikes taking me across 132 miles and over 31,500 vertical feet) was as much about getting comfortable, one footstep at a time, with a new direction, even a new life, as it was about the views snagged from the top after a long climb.
“There’s no running from it….”
No, there wasn’t. I hiked right into it, one mountain at a time, until I was strong enough to be able to see the prize, which ironically, wasn’t the view outside, but the one that I discovered inside…
|A window to far more than Peak One…|