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" …we drag that home along with us wherever we might get off to."

Out here on the edge of the West, or, as the sign over Golden Colorado's Washington Street insists, Where The West Begins, we enjoy a long tradition of MovingOn. The original inhabitants were nomadic, moving between locations as seasons suggested. Later arrivals showed up after MovingOn from some previous place, many of them nth sons without inheritance to hold them closer to home. Many of those MovedOn to somewhere else when the silver petered out, or moved into a different occupation than hard rock mining. We seem to live in temporary digs, acceptable until whatever passes for silver in our lives peters out. Westerners hold a long tradition of abandoning their past in favor of a more promising or less continually disappointing future. My own forebears rolled those big dice, came West, and somehow survived the transplants. Anyone might think that we're, as a result of this heritage, a fickle people, driving with one foot continually in the ditch, always ready, willing, and able to jump ship. Anyone would be wrong.

MovingOn the Nth time still brings all the anxiety of that first time.
I don't so much feel stuck in the past, but more like the past remains stuck to me, like mud accumulating on my traveling boots every time I migrate. Earlier steps seemed considerably lighter, the next departure, increasingly unlikely. Adventure evolves into existential dread. I have not lost my curiosity, but I too well understand the inherent complexity of resettling into any different community, no matter how welcoming, no matter how otherwise alluring. Routines will crumble and require painstaking reassembly with ever fattening fingers employing ever less sticky glue. My tastes have improved, too, so I can't seem to just make do like I used to. MovingOn seems increasingly risky as I age.

I feel no great need to restart, to start all over again. Sure, some things might well improve with a little genuine change, but I've grown to know who I am where I am, and while I might absently pine after some different routines, with some slight shift in my identity, I feel genuinely satisfied with who I've become here. Sure, some of the silver vein attracting my attention will certainly peter out, some already has, but I might be beyond trading my old familiar pickaxe for a plow. I better understand my limits now and seem more attached to my features as they've become more firmly attached to my self-image. I don't really want to be anyone but me. Finally.

Every public tragedy precedes the day after that event, and the following days after that. The initial impact fades with each passing sunrise as if it were MovingOn without the legions of grievers initially surrounding it. The grievers, too, lose that original all-encompassing focus as their reliable old silver vein calls them back into their hard-scrabble activities of daily living. They might not care any less, but they feel the increasingly urgent need to budget their caring between competing interests. Yes, we continue to offer our Thoughts and Prayers, but those heart-felt feelings need be shared more broadly now. Those boots most certainly feel more encased as a direct result of that most recent loss, another layer of what the gods might dismiss as simply experience. We will drag a piece of each experience along wherever we might MoveOn to. It's not so much that we cannot ever go back home, but that we drag that home along with us wherever we might get off to.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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