A Short Lived Experiment
Fear. That’s how it began. Fear and anger and relief.
I talked for years about moving to Nederland, Colorado for the Winter. It was a backup plan when housing situations were a bit sketchy.
It was never a desire, living in a small mountain town with a population barely larger than my high school. It was simply something that happened. When I moved to Boulder for college, I was disappointed. It felt small compared to the densely populated Boston where I grew up. I felt Denver to be a glorified cow-town, disparate, desolate, hard to maneuver. Both had their charms, their events and people, but neither felt as full of energy and life as the mini-metropolis of my youth. I was this close to transferring from CU and moving back East when I fell in love with the radio station. There, I found a family and a home, albeit one that accepted me only as a fellow reject.
Nederland, which I visited for Frozen Dead Guy Days, which was the bustling hub for such tiny towns as Eldora and Rollinsville, which one of my best friends called home, didn’t hold even the slightest appeal to me.
And then I found Eldora.
Working at the mountain meant a minimum hour and half commuting each day, be it by bus, hitchhiking or by car. That one reason alone was enough to make Ned seem appealing in theory. Good restaurants, a couple of friends up there, and a familiarity I developed over the years passing through the town at least tempered my skepticism. And when things finally came to a head, and the pieces of the puzzle fell into place, I found myself living exactly the scenario I had considered for years.
Nederland hasn’t been bad to me. It’s allowed me the free time to read and write, play music and see friends, to contemplate and absorb. It’s granted me a proximity to everything I might need, albeit at sometimes exorbitant prices, including local watering holes that are truly local. It’s handed me a free Ecopass, allowing me transport around the great Denver and Boulder area. It’s offered hours on end of fascinating happenings and people, even when those experiences aren’t positive. And it let me sleep, even if I couldn’t take advantage of it. Most of all, though, Nederland has given me perspective.
The house I ended up in housed 10 people in 7 rooms. There were drug-induced fits, sparring matches, an attempted suicide, an eviction, breakups, couplings, and a constant barrage of comings and goings. The house itself clicked, popped, creaked, shook, and kept me warm. I hardly had time to meet my neighbors, never really spending much time there, constantly escaping to my room, to the local brewery, to Summit, to work. And now that work has ended, it’s much the same, but quieter, the other Eldora-folk disappearing into the outside world.
There are really only two things keeping me in Ned at the moment: lack of purpose and direction, and a couple of people with whom I wouldn’t be so close if it weren’t for our proximity. But that’s not enough.
The house has become uncomfortable, both in its warmth and its constant rebuilding, both physical and metaphorical. My activities have seemed to stagnate, my writing and video editing stalling out without direct and clear inspiration. My music playing has fallen by the wayside while my wrist heals (although it’s getting close). And work, which ended at Eldora three weeks ago, has seemingly started pulling me back into the vortex that is Boulder.
Perhaps Boulder really is the venus fly trap I thought it was. Maybe it’s destiny that I come back. Either way, it looks like my time in Ned is coming quickly to an end. It may happen again next Winter, depending on several factors, but until the snows draw me back, the mountains don’t feel like home. Ultimately, that’s what I’ve been missing the last few years: a home.
Coming back to Boulder won’t change that. It won’t give me a sense of permanence or a place to which I can always come back. At best, it provides a familiar stomping ground, a few more opportunities, and access to a community I’ve built over the years. I’ll still be transient and unsettled, still be lost and directionless, and still be wondering what’s next.
But, for now, just being someplace familiar sounds like a good start. And for that, coming back to Boulder isn’t half bad.