I had to make a sudden trip to Utah today. I got a call this morning from my mother telling me that her little sister had finally lost her battle with a particularly nasty cancer. I knew the call was imminent, it didn't make it any less jarring. I have a kind boss who sent me "home to go home" and after throwing a few things in a bag and determining that driving was a better option than flying, I was on my nine hour trek home.
I thought a lot about the idea of home as I drove. This has been an emotional week personally and I am so sad for my young cousins who lost their mom, my grandparents who shouldn't have to bury a daughter and for my mom who watched her baby sister waste away for six months. But I couldn't help feeling an overwhelming sense of comfort and peace in coming back to my Utah. I was grateful to be in Colorado and not Massachusetts so I could be here right when my mom needed me. Mostly I was just happy to be headed home.
I couldn't wait to get out of here when I was 25. I was ready for adventures and big cities and new people and different versions of myself. I've been gone eight years now and have been lucky enough to find great jobs that have allowed me to travel and live in cool places and have interesting experiences. I've certainly grown up a lot in that time and made peace with so many of the things that made that 25 year old feel insecure. And one of those things is realizing how much of my foundation came from being a Utah girl. It never seemed glamorous to be from Salt Lake. When I was working at SLOC and meeting people my age from Chicago and Boston and Seattle-they seemed so sophisticated and cool. And so often I felt like I wasn't going to be a real adult until I left. Until I was alone somewhere new.
I loaded my ipod with a ton of stuff before I left this morning but I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time listening to this track by the Head and the Heart called "Down in the Valley". There are some lines that I couldn't get out of my soul
I am on my way
I am on my way
I am on my way back to where I started
I'm so glad I did leave. So thankful for everything about the last eight years. But when I was coming down the canyon tonight, getting off I-80 onto 7th East, finding my mom's new house on Spring Lane, walking into a house of siblings and nephews, I felt that sense of familiarity I just don't get anywhere else.
These are the places you will find me hiding
These are the places I will always go
I'm glad this is the place I will always go. Because a wise friend once told me that sometimes after you go looking for something to change, you figure out it's not always about geography.
This song is really pretty perfect driving and thinking and crying and thinking and driving son. They are coming to Denver in Novemember and I for one will be swaying along.