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.