Mount Blanca stood in the distance beyond the 60-acre tract of land from which I finally said my last goodbyes to my father. Though he had died over three years before in a different state, this was the place I chose to let him go from within me. But life is never that simple, is it.
These lands are also where I imagined the fictional characters Bob and Ava Kirks to have lived (in The Journey of Samson Pyne). I imagined their cabin to be found down this dirt road to the left, just out of reach of the brush, sheltered by trees, with a deck with a view of the hillsides and mountains beyond. In this imagined world conversations were taking place on that deck. In reality, I think I was chasing ghosts.
Just below the ridge line, there was a small stream where I had fished for trout a year or so before. There was also a particular tree just below the ridge that had stopped a downed elk from rolling over the hunter who shot it several years before. The elk meat had fed many, and not just in the state I grew up within. The hunter had been my father. The ghosts were a combination of his memory and a few of my own that still longed to stay here.
Thinking I might build that cabin my father had once planned, I almost stayed within these lands and forgot about the journey all together. But a truth about finding the self is that one cannot find it by attempting to live the life of another. If one makes a decision to do something, one has to own it.
Though Colorado and its mountains have always been a personal favorite of mine, alongside the deserts of the Southwest, I had to push forward. Samson Pyne’s future was calling, as was my own. Besides there was a storm brewing to the north and these open lands would be no place to weather the approaching blizzard.