Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The comforts of staying

I bought some hot apple cider this afternoon and took a walk around Boulder, fogging up my sunglasses with cinnamon-nutmeg steam.

I forget how much I love autumn. I wrote a short story last year about "the season of turmeric and spices, of osmanthus and scarf-worn longing." Today there was a scarf — a red one, my favorite, that my friend Christian bought for me in India — but there was no longing. Just appreciation, a kind of breath-driven inner peace, the kind you feel after a deep stretch.

I love knowing a city so well. I know that when I walk past a certain cafe that my best friend's boyfriend will be in there, working away on his next book. I know that the bathroom code to the local bookstore changes every week, and I always remember it until it no longer works. I know which intersections are always okay to cross even when the lights are green, because they're hardly ever used.

I know it will take me 12.5 minutes to walk from my work to my favorite local gourmet deli, where I harass them for their wild Alaskan house-cured salmon. I love learning through Facebook that a favorite cafe — where Christian and I would discuss our impending plans to travel the world over mochas and scones — is now serving hot apple cider, made from locally-grown apples; I love that I can walk there from my job, which is less than .5 miles away, because everything is less than .5 miles away.

I love that last night, as I was eating a delicious squash risotto with my close girl friend at my favorite restaurant, the bar manager — also my ex and friend — pointed at a table of diners and said, "They grew that squash you're eating."

I love feeling like I'm the only one who knows where a beautiful tea house is right downtown, because there's hardly anyone there. I love having places to retreat outside of my home, and not having every inch of my city crowded with people.

I love knowing that at least one out of five of my closest friends will likely be at the local "herban" bar at any given point on a late afternoon, working on art, illustration, writing, or just drinking jun.

I like growing, and discovering that when I really want to live in a place — the settle-down kind of live — it will probably be a smaller city, because I just like knowing. My life is filled with going and staying, but I am gaining so much in the process.

And when it comes to Boulder — I'm so glad I stayed.


  1. This is a beautiful post. I feel the same way about Boulder and love how you articulated it.

    I feel transient too, but love knowing these things about Boulder, love feeling safe here, love the community and special places that make it Boulder.

    Good luck in Espana! :)

  2. That is a beautiful post, I agree completely with Grace! It's interesting, because I always love completely the opposite. I love being in a huge city, being anonymous, and being able to get lost in the crowd. I think a small city or town would make me claustrophobic. I love the idea that I will never fully know a city, and that there is so much more to explore and understand. Somehow, I think that is beautiful.

  3. "I am trying to be light because heavy things don't fly" I relate with that soooo much, what an amazing quote! So happy you are on this journey, I was there for a min, lets just say you really really really get to know yourself! I love you and miss you. oH and I am proud of YOU!

  4. @Grace - Thank you. Oh, how I miss it. I will be back mid-February I believe, tentatively the 15th-ish. Keep warm for me.

    @Akhila - I love that too! For instance, when I go to NYC, I love that I have to really search for a space (a cafe, a "third place," anything) to call my own. It's not just there and beautiful like Boulder is to me... you have to make it your own, because there is so much to explore. I am definitely loving that aspect of city life in Madrid.

    @Julie - Thank you for commenting! I miss you, and you're right - I'm discovering quite a lot more than I thought I would. Very different things. I will surely be writing about them.