This is where I learned to breathe.
As it turns out, the "Betwixt and Between" tour has been all about reconnecting with the past. It's set us squarely betwixt the past and the future. We've revisited old friends in new places. We've thought a lot about how our history impacts, informs, and shapes our present.
For me, this feeling was most intense in Gothic, Colorado.
Gothic is home to the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, an ecological field station at nine and a half thousand feet, surrounded by a valley filled with aspens and wildflowers and marmots, and gorgeous peaks of every imaginable color. I spent a summer there studying pollination.
What I saw upon revisiting those mountains was just how that summer changed me, and set in motion events that led directly to who I am today, and in fact led directly to this whirlwind music tour. That summer was filled with dear friends and music. We had porch jam sessions, busked on the streets of Crested Butte for ice cream money, played songs on top of mountains. We had guitars, ukes, voices galore, sometimes backup dancers, and a drumkit made out of a gas can, pots and pans, and a cow jaw bone. I was super close with a curly haired, ukulele playing California girl named Natalie (who we saw in Seattle!), who taught me just about every song I now know and cherish on the ukulele, and taught me that if you want to make more money busking, just wear a cute dress and bright red lipstick.
As we drove up Gothic Road into the back country, I felt a strange, dream-like mixture of deja-vu and jamais-vu. It was familiar, yet alien at the same time. The aspens were bare bones, the mountains brown; a stark contrast to the lush green and rainbow fields of wildflowers in the summer. But the feeling was deeper than that. I thought that revisiting this special place after 4 years would be filled with regretful nostalgia. I could have pursued a career as an ecologist. I could have returned to this little piece of heaven every year for field work. But when I saw the wooden cabins of RMBL below Gothic Mountain, I didn't feel an ounce of regret. Rather, I felt an intense appreciation and gratitude for that beautiful place, and my dear friends.
That sense of unfamiliarity is the recognition that I am a different person than I was four years ago, and I have that summer to thank. I am so grateful.
Abby and I awoke the other morning to snow blanketing the ground. We built a fire and looked up at the sun cresting the snow-covered peaks. Everything is new.