Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Granby Town Lights

Originally Published in  Rough Writers, Inc Literary Magazine2008

“All the world was shining from those hills, The stars above and the lights below. Among those there to test their fortunes and their wills I lost track of the score long ago.”  – Jackson Browne Barricades of Heaven

It is 9:00 on a cold, windy January night. I am driving north on Route 40, coming home from work in Fraser. I descend Red Dirt Hill as the snow squalls twirl on the black road in my headlights. I come around the final curve and see the lights of Granby in the distance; the twinkling lights are like beacons, and I smile. Every night this happens.

Descending into Granby and seeing the lights remind me of my first night in Colorado in 1988. I was seventeen and didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life except be in the west. All my friends were preparing for their first year of college while I flew west to Denver for a hiking trip through the Rocky Mountains with people I didn’t know. I was excited, scared, happy, and didn’t know what to expect around every turn.

I met the other group members at the Denver airport and we drove north to Estes Park. We arrived at night and I was tired from an early morning flight from Boston and ready for bed. A sign on the road to Estes Park made me questions my decision to do this trip: “climb to safety in case of flash flood”. But it all vanished the moment we turned a curve in the road and the sight made my heart race and eyes fill with the tears of extreme emotion. We were coming into a valley of lights; it was like coming into a new kind of paradise for the first time. The lights were welcoming me; calling me closer. I’d never seen a valley like this; the lights sprinkled the lower valley and canyons walls. I was 2,000 miles from home and never wanted to leave.

It is this same sense of overwhelming beauty and wildness I feel as I drive home in the evening; coming home. Home – I feel at home here, more than anywhere I’ve ever lived. I moved to Granby not knowing anyone or anything about the town except the demographics from a website; much like the hiking trip through the Rocky Mountains. The lights of Granby remind me of that sense of adventure and desire to learn about a new place. The lights remind me of a Walt Whitman poem, Bivouac on a Mountain Side

Below a fertile valley spread, with bars and the
Orchards of summer,
Behind, the terraced sides of a mountain, abrupt,
In places rising high,
Broken with rocks, with clinging cedars, with
Tall shapes dingily seen
And over all the sky – the sky! Far, far out of reach,
Studded, breaking out, the eternal stars
All these sights and sounds in Granby remind me of the confusion and excitement of the search for where I want to be. And, they turn me back into that seventeen year old girl with her backpack and hiking boot in the trunk of the car, looking for new adventures in the west.

I am comforted by the Granby Town Lights.

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