Thirty years ago this month I made the San Luis Valley my home.
About a year out of college and after spending some weird and memorable months in misery (Missouri), I came to Alamosa where my folks had moved the year before. During my high school years, they lived in Craig, where I graduated with the Class of 1978, and during my college years, they lived in Lamar. During that time I was attending Union College in Lincoln, Neb. Before Colorado, we had lived in Oklahoma, Iowa and my birthplace, South Dakota.
Home has always been where my folks are, and it is still that way, even though they have moved twice since leaving the San Luis Valley 20 years ago.
I feel at home in the Valley, too. I have sunk roots more stubbornly entrenched than those noxious whitetop weeds in my yard that I get a notice from Karen Hobbs about nearly every summer. Uprooting me would leave a part of me here.
Itís a comfortable feeling seeing people I know in grocery stores, at the gas pump, in restaurants, on Main Street, in church and at work. The people of this place are what make it special, just as my parents make any place they live special, and the people here have become an extended family for me.
It is reassuring knowing who lives on my block, who sits in the desks near me and who shares the pew at church with me. Although all sojourners in this life, at least in this place and at this time, we are traveling together.
We wake up to the same view, sometimes of frost on trees, or snow on mountaintops, cranes on a migratory journey, more or less water in the river and sunflowers by the side of the road.
We share a dusty spring, a warm summer with cool nights, an autumn with air slightly chilled, and a winter that drives us to the wood-stoked fire.
Thirty springs and summers, autumns and winters have come and gone since I made the Valley home. My folks moved on, as did my husband, and I have said good-bye to too many friends, both two- and four-legged, in those many years. Some seemed to leave us way too soon.
But, others have found their way to this place, sometimes coming back, sometimes for the first time, sometimes forever, their souls captured by this place and the others who call it home.
May they all find a welcoming embrace, like I did so many years ago.