Yesterday held some odd convergence of time for me. While I was enjoying every spectacular moment of the present day, the past sidled up next to me. I became the middle of the Oreo cookie, with today on one side and years of history on the other.
Seventeen years ago, at this time of year, I was dizzied by the tectonic shifts I was making in my life. I left people I loved, a job I loved and a city I called home to move to the far end of a dead-end dirt road in the rural mountains of Colorado. What I hadn’t realized then was that I was moving into a rare, tight-knit community of amazing people all enjoying a small corner of paradise together.
In the time I have been here, people have gotten married and divorced. Babies (lots of them) have been born and grown taller than their parents. People have moved in, moved away, been moved to change, or departed the planet entirely. Businesses have shuttered and new ones built. Jobs have changed. Fences have been built up by neighbors and torn down by herds of elk and blustery winters. Houses have burnt down, been built anew and aged with grace. And through it all we have played, worked, loved, and mourned together.
Every day I am keenly aware of what an uncommon and exceptional community I am lucky enough to be part of, but yesterday each movement exclaimed to me really and truly what a strong “neighborhood” of people we are. And, in a way, how irrelevant past and present are in contrast to the convergence of it all.
I did absolutely nothing out of the ordinary yesterday — just the same things I have been doing since I moved here, but each of them with a twist unique to the day and its place in time.
I skied the same powdery, shimmery snow I have for years, but this time I got to do it with my son, me following the tree lines he plotted from the lift.
The same bright, friendly smile of the woman who sold me a slice of her homemade pie my first night here 17 years ago shone on my son when she set him up with a hot chocolate after a cold morning on the ski hill.
The same end-of-day shadows moved across our house in the same slow February light, even though the house and the number of creatures in it are different than 17 years ago.
The same friends who came over for dinner last night were the same friends who came over 17 years ago, except this time they have kids old enough to drive and babysit and give us their perspective on things with which adults grapple.
In the scheme of things these are all minute details that are easily missed, but to me they are strong reminders of how, even amidst seemingly tectonic shifts, so much of life stays the same. Some changes we want to hold on to and savor forever. Others feel like they will crash on our heads and drown us. But in the end, all change swirls around together in the sea of life, leaving us just as we were save for the new experience we get to put in our pockets as a reminder of the moment.