But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mounta...

(needle scratches across entire remaining length of album. Needle arm rises with a quiet little hum and zips back into place. Another arm with a pronged end rises dramatically with a loud, stiff bang, jerkily shifts into place over the album, drops, twists, grabs album with prongs, lifts album off player, and flings it like a Frisbee against the wall. Album breaks into a hundred little pieces.)

So, I’ve come down off my Rocky Mountain high. Boulder. Beautiful city. Magnificent mountains. Fairy tale-y snow. I have no regrets. Well, maybe a couple of little ones. But, I can honestly say I’ve returned to Austin a more enlightened woman. I needed a hiatus. A sabbatical. And it was a lovely segue into what’s to come. Live, love, learn and move along. It’s what some of the most agile and erudite men of our time encourage us ladies to do, and so I shall give it the old college try!

As I sat in the airport in Dallas before the second leg of my flight to Austin from Boulder, I met a woman named Ingrid. I was carrying with me a monstrous pleather purse jam-packed with junk, my gargantuan Lenovo, my big, red GoLite jacket (as necessary in Austin as my flip flops were in Boulder) and a big Wendy’s salad. I was easily taking up five seats. Ingrid didn’t even try to hide her amusement as she sat down two seats away. I was licking the lemon garlic ranch dressing off my lips in order to apologize for all my aero-static clutter when Ingrid asked…

“Ven did Vendy’s get salad?”

Me being part German (I’m no part at all German) I understood exactly what Ingrid asked and, happy she hadn’t instead chastised me for hogging all the chairs, I quickly responded,

“Vendy’s has always had salads. Vy vud you not be avare of zis?”

I didn’t say that. Over the next half hour, however, we did talk about unhealthy fast food, Portland, Boulder, Paris, Germany, about how business people in Europe are much more direct than business people in America. We talked about Austin, our shared destination. Ingrid told me she works as an IT Engineer for a German company with offices in Austin. I told her she may as well be a brain surgeon for all I knew about IT engineering. Ingrid asked me what I do and, handing her a business card with only a scant amount of dressing on it, I proudly told her,

“I’m a writer.”

She was as impressed with my writing as I with her IT-ness. Ingrid said,

“I couldn’t vite a good story if my life depended on it.”

“I bet you could,” I said.

“I vould die,” she responded, laughing.

“I certainly could not do what you do,” I said. “I suppose it’s a good thing that everyone likes to do something different. Otherwise, we’d all be doing the same thing and so much wouldn’t get done.”

Ingrid agreed.

On the plane, Ingrid the IT Engineer sat in first class and I, the writer, in coach. She smiled and waved at me as I passed. And I thought about how every day I’m opening myself up more, learning to be more accessible, learning to listen, learning to learn. I thought about all the people I’ve met so far in my 41 years of life and about all the many people I can still meet.

I thought about my Boulder experience. About how good it was for me. About how I will always treasure those two months for what I learned about myself. About how, as Robert Frost often whispers in my ear, way does lead on to way. There may be pain along the way, but there’s no reason one has to expect it. Or dwell in it.

This is what my delightenment looks like. I decided 22 weeks ago to fully surrender to it. It may appear I’m going around in circles, but trust me…I am not. Ingrid summed it up nicely during our layover chat. She said,

“Vat might appear at first glance to be a vound trip is veally vun vay.”

Yes.

Til next time!

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