Monday, September 6, 2010

Coming home...

Driving south on I-25 towards New Mexico...I know I am getting closer as the cars and trucks thin on the road from the wolf packs of Colorado Springs and Pueblo.  The mile markers blow past on the right, a countdown to the border. To distract myself from the time, my mind crunches the numbers this way and that, calculating distances, time traveled, my projected arrival time. 

With Thomas in the car, we will talk about the past, our future, stories of hope and humor.  But lately I drive alone, filled not with laughter at our stories but longing for home in the distance.

Everything seems to be rounded off in hours, but by my calculations last night, Raton is 45 minutes away.  Trinidad is an hour.  Pueblo is then just a little over two hours, and depending on traffic in the Springs, Denver can be a mere four hours or much longer.  I made Castle Rock in 3.5 hours with little stopping me, save a pit stop for gas and a bathroom.

Coming home last night, the sun began to sink before I could see it.  Raton Pass blotted out the setting sun, but the colors were beautiful as I sank down into my new homeland.  I feared for the dimming light, as I haven't grown comfortable yet with the possibilities of deer on the road, jumping in front of me without warning.  Heaven help me, for there is nothing I can do to will the deer away from me as I speed through the dark closer to home.

As the miles count back from #460 at the pass, I keep a close eye on the horizon to the west, my right.  I am eager for the green posts that drop into the 430s.  At #435 I know I am close: there will be a short climb to the west towards the rest area just past the Tinaja exit.  From this vantage the gap in the mesas is visible, the gap at the end of our road.  When I see that gap, I can picture my home at the base of it. 

There is something fun about being able to spot your home.  My first year in Denver, I lived two blocks from St. Elizabeth Senior Residence, a towering building in an otherwise one and two story neighborhood.  I could spot that tower from all over the city and from airplanes and know that I lived right there.  There is a feeling of security and confidence in knowing that is home.  It is like that when I see that gap in the mesas driving south.  Between #434 and #432, the highway snakes east, then west, then east again, as it descends from the rest area.  The long stretch of snaking west is aimed directly at the gap.  Sometimes I imagine the highway keeps going straight, straight to our haven on Horsethief Gap Rd.  Alas, the road curves away, but the mesas stay in my view, and I know it won't be too long that I will be home.

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