Thursday, November 18, 2010

Leaving and Friends (The following is a piece I wrote just before leaving the Gunnison Valley in late October)

This morning I’m waking up and thinking about writing. It’s what I do most mornings. However, this morning is different, I’m moving from the Gunnison Valley today.

I thought I might write something about leaving, but I didn’t know what. Thoughts and ideas passed through my head of last 11 years and how epic life in Gunnison is. Do I write about the cold nights in Gunny, the time it was negative 40? Or do I write about the experiences I’ve had climbing in the Black Canyon on the wild 2,000 foot walls that are literally almost in our backyard? Or do I recall when I first moved to Gunnison, and didn’t know anyone and thought that I’d made a big mistake and wanted to leave? Or about the struggles of college, and finally graduating after three different schools and many semesters off, and many times that I doubted I could finish? Or about the struggles of wanting to become a writer, but not knowing where to start, and then submitting to the pull of the wilderness and inspiration and guidance of my professors and anyone else that would take a look at my stuff?

From this perch of my little apartment in Gunnison on my last morning before I venture off I have a view of these last 11 years. Many things have happened and I’ve grown and matured in ways that would be difficult to quantify. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve experienced a similar growth, many of us are united by our time spent together in Colorado.

What I’m realizing though, as I sit here, is that there is no need to try to record all that has happened here in the Gunnison Valley, over the last decade-plus. It would be impossible anyways. The adventures and growth that occur here are the stuff that novels are made of, and Jah-willing I’ll write my book someday.

What really matters for me right now is that in a little while I’ll be having breakfast with a handful of friends at the Firebrand shortly. It won’t be a dramatic goodbye; anyone who has lived here in the Gunnison Valley realizes that the time comes when we have to leave this incredible majestic mountain place. For yours truly it is time to escape the cold, and to find more opportunities in my career.

As I sit here and contemplate I’m not worried about the upcoming change in my life. I think this is because of my friends. I’m leaving Gunnison to move to Durango where one of my best friends, Tim Foulkes is also moving to. Before that I’m taking a month to travel and find stuff to write about, with my friend Dave Marcinowski. Today I’ll drive to Telluride to meet Dave and then we’ll travel to Yosemite, California together. There we’ll couch surf and hang out with two old friends we met in Gunny, Mark Grundon and Scott Borden. Then finally at the end of the month I’ll be with countless friends in the desert in Indian Creek to celebrate Thanksgiving together.

All of these connections were made in the Gunnison Valley. These are good people, who value adventure, exploration, self-discovery and friendship.

And, that is what I value the most in my 11 years I’ve spent here, the friendships that I have made; anything that I have done on my own pales in comparison to the power of friendship.

In a few hours I’ll drive my beat-up old car west, and the view of the Gunnison Valley will fade from my rear view mirror. I’ll be gone and I don’t know when I’m coming back again. But, what I’ll take with me, and what is all over the country is love and friendship, and that’s what I’m thinking about this morning, and what I am the most grateful for in my life.


D. Scott Borden said...

Sick trip, and heck yeah we have your back.

Mike Kazimer said...

Good luck with your travels and adventures Luke! Your thoughts seem to echo mine. Gunny is a great home base, a place you can always return, even if you leave for a couple of years. It's good to get out of the valley and see what else is going on in this crazy world.

Heidi said...

I know it is hard in some ways for you to leave Gunny. It was pretty tough for me to watch you go.

The great thing about this valley is that it's a magnet for the kind of freaks I love and admire. It draws fascinating, hardy, big-hearted characters who crave challenge and adventure. I know I have to enjoy my friends while they are here - because there are adventures to be had around the world. I am grateful you were here to spice up our part of the world for a while.

I never knew I even liked people until I opened a deli. When Kate and I opened our door on Main Street, all kinds of people walked in. Many of them have become friends. I went from knowing three people and a dog in 1995 (just before we opened), to knowing a whole town by their first names (and what they like to eat). I love love love how you and your friends made the Firebrand a place to converge and hang out. Your laughter and ribbing and hatching of plans was an unexpected bonus from making good food.

I wish you luck in your travels and I look forward to reading about them. But I'll give you a heads up. I mysel successfully left the Gunnison Valley for 8 years before it called me back. I had to create my job to live here, and I am happy to be a glorified dishwasher. If you're aren't careful - you too may nd up back here (just bring your job with you).

Also, I did put extra addictive ingredients in you last few muffins and Breakfast Specials. So I'm just saying....

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