Home. It’s where the heart is. There’s no place like it. For me, it’s been a confusing word over the past 4 1/2 years.
I’ve written about not feeling at home in Cincinnati (where I currently live and where I am from) and feeling more at home out there in the world. I’ve talked about leaving pieces of my heart scattered about this earth and feeling more at home in those places.
Today as you read this I’m on my way to the one place that has always felt like home – Colorado. For 15 years I called it home. 13 of those years I called Golden home. Golden holds a special place in my heart.
Yes, the mountains are certainly gorgeous, and being a mountain gal, it’s one reason why I loved, and still love, Colorado. Golden was always a quirky little town which made it so endearing to me. The “Howdy Folks, Welcome to Golden” sign that so many folks balked at, I found funny and kitschy – and very “Golden”. There were all kinds of people living here – from more conservative folks to hippy, liberal types – but, everyone got along and there was always a nice sense of community. I loved this.
I loved the casual, laid back vibe, and the progressive attitudes. There was always a “live and let live” feeling about most of Colorado. But, for me, it came down to the friends I made in Colorado – friends who became family. Many of us were transplants moving from other places, especially the Midwest. So, holidays became the “orphan Thanksgiving” or the “orphan Christmas”. It was nice to have friends that truly became family.
And Colorado remains home because of everything I experienced here. I learned so much about life – and myself. I climbed big mountains, scaled tall rock walls, ran rocky dirt trails, rode my snowboard across powdery snow, and gazed at so many stars to wish upon. This is where I gained self-confidence. This is where I learned to let go of fear. This is where I loved – and lost. This is where I grew up. This is where I discovered who I was.
As I return home I’ll look forward to hanging out with friends and spending time in my beloved Rocky Mountains. But, I know it will feel different. My mom’s passing has changed everything for me. I know Colorado will still feel like home, but Cincinnati has begun to feel a bit more like home now too. Not that I will stay there forever, but I know Cincinnati will be the place I’ll return to…for now.
In all honesty, I really do feel more at home out there in the world – moving from place to place, exploring, photographing, learning, meeting new people. But, I love having a place like Colorado to return to – a place that really feels like home. To return to people who will embrace me with warm hugs. To friends who I can laugh with and cry with. To sisters and brothers who truly love me like family.