I’ve always been a fan of road trips. I think that there’s something about feeling the highway moving beneath you that gives a sense of time passing, an amount of time appropriate to the distance that you’re traveling that gives you a sense of place and an awareness of the change in location that’s happening. I think that it’s easier to arrive somewhere new when you’ve had a chance to process your departure.
I got on a plane from Bozeman to Denver yesterday – I covered 700 miles in a little over an hour. I got off of that plane and onto a train and then a bus and then into my friend’s car and was deposited at my favorite coffee shop in downtown Boulder less than three hours after leaving home. The line moved faster than I was anticipating, and I couldn’t even remember what I used to order here. When my drink arrived, I looked at it, somewhat confused, and asked the barista what it was. I apologized profusely. I clearly didn’t have my Boulder words in order as I’d wanted an iced soy semi-sweet chai, not the hot 2% half-caff I’d apparently ordered. (It’s Boulder, just roll with it.) I left my water bottle at the coffee shop on my way to the office I’m sharing with a friend for the week; clearly my brain was still in Bozeman.
It was strange, to feel so discombobulated in a place I’d known so well for so long. I spent most of the day trying to keep up with work back in Montana, prepare for meetings in Boulder, connect with friends I haven’t seen in over a year, and stay awake. By the time I’d made it through dinner and found myself at my old yoga studio with one of my favorite teachers, I was starting to get my bearings, but wondered if I’d be able to hang after a year away from my mat.
The class began and I fell right into the movements that I knew so well. It was good to move my body in a sweaty yoga class again – to think of nothing but the motion, to leave everything else going on in my life right now at the door – I’d missed this.
Part of me was happy to know that I’ve still got it, and my initial thought was that I needed to make sure I brought this back to Bozeman with me. But as the class progressed, my head went in a different direction – I don’t have this community in Montana. I used to know everyone at the studio and now I only recognize three or four people. How am I supposed to keep growing in this way without my teachers? Why did I ever leave this place?
By the time class was over, I was worked and happy, but questioning my decision to leave Boulder – something that I thought I’d put to bed a while ago. As I was leaving, my teacher asked how I was going to survive for four days without fishing. I laughed and said “yoga, duh!” And then I realized that it works the other way too. Fishing is how I’ve survived without yoga. The river is my studio. The drift is my downdog, casting is my sun salutation. The cool water pushing against my legs is my meditation. I haven’t lost anything; it’s just been transformed over the last year and a half in Montana. I’ve adapted. It’s taken time, but my place is there now, not here in Boulder where I write this.
Parts of that are hard to let go of – some of my best friends are in Colorado; Boulder is beautiful and full of very dear memories, but I’ve made my choice. I’ve invested in my life in Bozeman in a way I’m no longer willing to give up; I am past the point of no return. All these parts of my life that I’ve left behind have merged into the way I live now, and I’m excited about where this new path will lead and what I will bring into it.
And so, for the next three days, I will enjoy all the things that I love about Boulder. And then I will fly home to Bozeman, and get my feet in the river as quickly as possible – connected, once again, with everything that I love about home.