I have found a little sanctuary in Keystone, Colo. called Inxpot. I'm here on a mini-vacation, hiking and relaxing yet oddly surrounded by a Bacon festival and distracted by resort conversations like:
"He called me last night after he got pulled over on the way back to the hotel."
"But I thought he was walking back."
"He was. He got pulled over walking."
But everything is ok in here.
When I claim spots as sanctuaries, I mean that they satisfy both inner and outer aspects of the meaning: inside of my head and my outside surroundings. I need a blend of something, of music and intellect, a concoction of words and wind and movement, of quotes scrawled on walls—"Live where your friends will defend you, but never have to"—and of men alone reading with an intensity to not notice any of it. An outside space created to foster one's inner space.
Inxpot is part coffee shop, part bookshop and part bar. It really only has six full shelves of books, but somehow the diverse collection managed to keep me occupied for an hour and a half before I became inspired to write. Although it's situated in a resort, the café has managed to maintain an air of authenticity. And within that, I can be authentic to myself.
A confession: I haven't read in a while. Not really read—not sat down with a book and let it devour me, let it cloak me so people can't find me anymore until I am done with it. I have skimmed New Yorker articles with spotted interest; I have read Facebook updates with embarrassing voracity. I am worried about my brain. I have started to read articles about how our brains are changing and our attention span may be waning, but I cannot finish them before I move on to something else. I am worried about my brain.
Yet "I am worried" does not accurately reflect how I feel every day. I am so many things to myself and to so many people—and I love it, and it's scary to live this way, and I never admit that, but it is. When you build a thing of many different types of wood—pecan, maple, yellowheart—they must be soldered together with exquisite care to create a solid piece, or things can be unsteady and give you splinters when you rub yourself across their many lives within a life.
A little over a week ago, I celebrated my four-year "crash-iversary," and I hiked my first Colorado 13er yesterday: Mt. Sniktau. I am so in love with Colorado and its mountains that it frightens me. I have never come back to live in a place after leaving it. I have never annoyed so many people with how much I love a place before, but I figure those who are left will be as enamored with life as I am—the ones who will defend me but never have to—and those are the people I build my wood-woven existence with.
And sometimes I need to find a sanctuary like this café, where I can remember that I am safe. Sometimes it's a teahouse, or a rose garden, or a spot on the earth where I can weave grass through my hair, green-brown life threadings, my heart starting and stopping, feeling the in-between of things—and I can feel that it's safe inside there too, because I make it that way.