Revisiting, Refocusing

You can’t go home again.

Ok, maybe you can, but you’re not likely to find your old G.I. Joe doll (long-ago cannibalized to serve as a pilot in a remote-controlled plane) or want to spend much time in the basement, now crammed with decades’ worth of your family’s crap and this funky smell that just won’t go away.

And something of the same principle can be at work when you travel. You can go back to a favorite spot, but it’s hard to recreate what you found there the first time (my experience in Sete to the contrary).

Take Block Island. Last September I documented my first-ever trip there, a weekend of sun and good friends and satisfying meals. And time well spent with my honey, who is now, alas, something less.

Your humble narrator, beardless on Block Island. And don't let the backpack fool you...

On the return trip a few weeks ago, it was just my hostess and her two sons. The weather, for one day at least, was iffy. And I was honeyless, due to the IMD. That state and feeling like I was intruding on a family getaway led me to leave the island early, and made me realize how hard it is to duplicate an experience for the better.

But then, this weekend seemed to belie that a bit. Two years ago, just before C?WC? began, that same honey, the Fex, and I went to Denver to visit family. The trip on the whole was good, but the city itself left us wanting. Of course, we only spent one day there, a Monday, cool and rainy. We didn’t do much besides stroll the 16th Street Mall and have lunch. Though the Tattered Cover bookstore was a highlight.

So what made this visit to Denver so much better than last, and much better than the BI excursion? I was solo again, but the ill feelings engendered by the IMD have dissipated a bit. The biggest change was the weather – summery but not humid – and the activities. Downtown Denver was hopping on Saturday, and I was in the middle of it.

Stella Luce, a talented local band at the fest.

Superchunk--lots o' fun!

I stayed at a hotel that night, and a little pre-trip research led me to a the Westword Music Festival, which unfolded at a number of venues right near the hotel. For 15 bucks I got to wander and see a variety of acts. Most notable for me was Superchunk, a ’90s band I always enjoyed. Their show outdoors was nonstop head-bobbing rock. And of course, the people-watching was great. Lots of hippie types throughout. With no tattoos, piercing, or unusual clothing, I felt quite the square old dude (especially surrounded by all the nubile young women. My god, I was afraid of getting arrested just for looking…). Square and straight, as a familiar scent often wafted over the crowd – and basically on every street corner. Must be lots of unhealthy young folks in the Rockies, taking advantage of the dispensaries that seemed in abundance.

Just a wee bit bigger than Hartford's Pride Fest...

Right near this festival was an even bigger and more entertaining one – Gay Pride. It filled several closed off streets and surrounding areas.  I strolled through the booths, bought a souvenir, and just enjoyed all the colors, activity, life.  Then I went for a vegan meal. I was disappointed in the pizza I’d been craving ever since I had found City O’City online, and the sweet potato croquettes were a little weak too; none of the promised jalapeno punch. But I gave the place another chance for lunch on Sunday, and this time they sparkled. The vegan ranch dressing gave the croquettes some needed zip, and the pastaless  vegan lasagna – a Sunday staple there – was spot on. Vegan vindication.

Bear Lake

Sis on holiday

A side trip outside the city was also better this time around. The first time, we went to Golden. Nice enough, but not spectacular. This time, though, at my sister‘s urging, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park. Amazingly beautiful. I, much to the surprise of many, I‘m sure, even went hiking – and lived to tell about it. And even enjoyed it! We took a shuttle bus to Bear Lake, elevation 9500‘, then hiked for a little over two miles and another 500 feet up to two more lakes. There was snow, a waterfall, perfect weather, great vistas. And I, who once thought of myself as a bad hiker (to go with a bad blogger and, I guess, bad husband), realized I can enjoy it. Right scenery, right amount of time, right terrain, and I do OK.

Snow in June!

Dream Lake, at about 10k feet

So the trip is almost over as I write this. All that‘s left is seeing the Red Sox play the Rockies tonight; another upgrade from the last time, when we saw the home team play Houston. So, all in all, a good break, with members of my family who actually still talk to me and show some concern about my personal life.  A welcome change. As is the new attitude I seem to be cultivating about my situation. I‘m moving on. Things will get better. I‘m OK.

For now.

And I’ve learned not to compare what’s in front of me now with what was. Thanks Denver, for helping to reinforce that little lesson.

Update – Sox lost. Trip was still great.

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~ by mburgan on June 26, 2010.

One Response to “Revisiting, Refocusing”

  1. 🙂

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