Writing is a lot like running – when you haven’t done it for awhile because life gets busy, you make excuses or just get lazy, and then when you get back out there on the road, or on the laptop, it feels so good and you wonder why you stayed away so long. I have wanted to sit down and write so many times but it just hasn’t happened. Last weekend while visiting family in Colorado, my mother-in-law was digging around on her notepad and says, “Oh..SilverLiningStong…that’s your blog. You haven’t written anything in awhile”. With those few words from her, I found myself pulling out my laptop to write – to get the thoughts out that fill my head in the wee hours of the night, on the commute to work, or during the miles that I manage to get in on the weekend. Later that same day, my father-in-law, AKA Grandpa, asked me if I was still running. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laced up the shoes for a run because I know he’s going to ask me that the next time I see him.
It’s worth mentioning that Grandpa is battling cancer and as of this writing, is fighting for a few more days or weeks in our lives on this planet. Grandpa’s story is one of determination and positivism – but his story is not for today. And although not even remotely on the same scale, this story is also about determination and positivism.
Wayne and I have been in an empty nest for over a year now – and it has been quite a change, because not only is our nest empty of our kids, but also empty of friends and family. When we lived in Fruita, not a weekend went by that we didn’t have someone over for dinner, dominoes, hot-tubbing, drinks, dance parties…something. We had extended family that were semi-permanent fixtures at the dinner table. We had birthday parties (mine were the best!), Thanksgiving dinners, domino showdowns. If we weren’t hosting a get-together, the local tap house was a mile from the house, where many of the same people were gathered.
But it was time to leave Fruita. Maybe it was time for more money. Maybe we needed to get out of the house where the memories of losing Brice would always haunt us. Maybe it was just time for the next phase in our life. But this move has been a challenging one. It’s not a wow-move like Alaska was. Nobody says ‘Wow’ in a good way when you tell them you’ve moved to Elko, Nevada. It’s usually ‘Why?’, not ‘Wow!’. A year later, we’ve settled into a routine, for the most part. We bought a house, put up a fence, bought a hot tub, and a new TV. We’ve had a few get-togethers – hosting barbecues for out of town work guests, spur of the moment friends & family reunion weekend, and even taught a few friends how to play dominoes. It’s a part of our life that we enjoy – not that we don’t enjoy time to ourselves, but we like sharing our life and creating memories with others.
Wayne and I have taken time for ourselves and dated for years – planning for the days when the kids would be grown and living their own lives. And here we are – living together in a 1,400 square foot house with a dog and a cat and a bunch of fish. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is quiet and boring. I miss my friends and family. I miss having the kids around – they make me laugh and keep me young. I miss running the trails in Loma and Grand Junction. I miss the Copper Club. I miss running the streets of Fruita, feeling like they were MY streets. I miss the physical shape I was in. I miss not having to be to work until 8:00 and only having to drive 20 minutes to get there. (I do NOT miss the job or the shitty pay, however!) I miss having the luxury of getting up before work to go running. I miss our friends, and the dinner invites, and the weekend dominoes. Fruita felt easy – yes there were rough patches – but it was easy. It was safe. It was comfortable. It was good. And it will always be there.
Spring Creek is not Fruita. It is not an easy place to live. The wind blows all the damn time. It is a transient community in Nevada, complete with casinos and brothels. Few people have family here. Kids and grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, live far away. It is a mining town – people don’t come here on vacation. Everyone works long hours. Everyone has a long commute. Everyone goes out of town on the weekends – some go home to their wife and kids who live in another state, some travel and spend the money they work hard to earn, some just get out of Northern Nevada. It is a blue-collar, whiskey-drinking, boot-wearing, truck-driving town – and all that goes along with that – good and bad.
Running was also easy in Fruita. I didn’t realize it then, but it was. I had running friends, time to listen to running podcasts and interact with #runchat on Twitter. There are accessible and maintained trails. It was easy to step out my front door onto a well-lit street to go for a 3-20 mile run. It’s not like that here. I don’t have running friends. (Although as of today, that may be changing!) There’s not even a lot of runners here; it’s not what I would consider a health conscious area. The paths and roads are not exactly pedestrian friendly. It is windy all the time. I have gained weight and lost fitness, and I rarely get 6 hours of sleep a night during the work week.
there are beautiful mountains out my back door – the Ruby Mountains – and every time I see them, I can hear them begging to be explored. There are local races from Spring to Fall, that are small and inexpensive. The only corrals here are in the neighbor’s back yard and the ranches down the road. The roads are hilly giving my legs an extra challenge, and the elevation is a little higher to give my lungs a little push, too. And even though the wind always blows, it is nice to have the air moving; and it provides a little extra resistance to almost every run…it adds an element of ultra training.
If all of life is a journey and each experience a lesson, then I can’t help but believe there is a reason for this part of our journey. Fruita became a comfort zone – and someone, somewhere once said, A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there. This may not be an easy place to live, but would I really want life to always be easy? With challenges comes change, and change brings growth. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes us next.