Friday, June 14, 2019

Roots

As I hiked up the switchback, I spied two hikers ahead of me.  Oh great, I thought.  I reeled someone in, now I have to either walk behind them or awkwardly pass and make sure to keep ahead (yes, I'm weird about this).  As I got closer, I peered at one of the women.  "Tracy?" I asked.

There are hundreds of trails around here.  While the cities in the valley aren't large, we get a lot of tourists.  But I had managed to randomly run into someone I knew.  As I joined them on the trail, I realized I've managed to finally plant myself someplace.

I used to move every six months or so.  For many years it was because I was a seasonal employee, chasing fire season across the West.  Then I was in a restless marriage, where one or the other of us thought things would magically become better if we took different jobs, went to a new town.  I told myself I was just a gypsy at heart, and I really believed it, even after I was no longer a seasonal or a wife.  I needed to be on the move, I thought.

I've lived in this valley for eight years.  I've managed to make a few good friends who forgive me for my firefighting absences in the summer.  I bought a house and planted trees and flowers, and have actually stayed long enough to see them grow.  I run into people I know on the ski hill and on trails.  I'm in a book club.  I actually get to the end of punch cards.  People think I know a lot about the hiking trails.

Of course, there's parts I don't like.  Tourists swarm the national park.  Traffic is increasing.  Winters are long and cold and summers are too short.  There's a resort tax.  And every so often, I get the urge to go, to see what it might be like to live somewhere else, somewhere without grizzly bears in the woods, maybe a smaller town, more remote.  

It might still happen.  But my gypsy days are behind me.  The thought of packing everything up and hitting the road every year isn't appealing.  Instead, I got to spend an unexpected afternoon with friends on a hiking trail.  So I guess I have some roots after all.  They might be shallow, but it's enough to bloom.



3 comments:

  1. Due to my fathers job, we moved a a fair amount when I was a kid..I never had the ‘roots system’ that people have. I was starting to grow roots when I lived in the small town with my ex husband...and I actually liked that aspect.....knowing people and not being a constant stranger in a crowd. But alas, I’m back to being a newbie/stranger. Maybe someday I’ll have those roots again!

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    1. It seems like it takes longer as you get older to find a tribe of people, unless you're in the bar crowd or church crowd. Luckily there are a lot of outdoorsy people here.

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  2. I think you meant to say that winters were depressingly short and not cold enough and that summers were too long. More appropriate don't you think?

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