When I moved to Colorado two years ago, one of the most healing things about it was the smell of the air. Though two years earlier, the altitude change made me feel sick in cold April, in warm May of 2011, that same change was welcomed. It was a new day, a new era, and I had olfactory proof.
Not to try and sound sexy, but there was a perpetual nosebleed that lasted the better part of my first week living out here. There was also the issue of how I’d never really had to try too hard, to have soft skin, until moving out here. Air’s mad dry.
But by the time I left Colorado to go back to New York after my 2009 visit, I was already missing the air. In the few days I’d been here, despite feeling nauseous and dizzy for the first 24-48 hours, I’d grown to love the crispness of Colorado. And when I moved out here two years later, I think I was more prepared for the altitude adjustment. Rising above it (so to speak) felt like a welcome challenge, to counterbalance the emotional angst of starting over.
“The first thing I noticed when I moved back to New York, was ahhhh, yes – I can breathe again!” said a friend of mine, a native New Yorker who’d lived in Denver for a few years. He went on to talk about how he loves Colorado, but nothing fills his lungs up right, quite like being near the ocean.
Someone else, a regular at the bar where I work who is also from New York, said a few nights ago that he loves to travel, but he is happy every time he steps back out into the Colorado air, because it smells amazing, and feels like home, to him.
Next week, I’m going back to New York for the first time since I left, nearly two years ago. My cousin’s getting married (congratulations Sammy!!!), and I’m going to get to see a whole bunch of family upstate, plus my grandmother and family on Long Island. I’m going to get to see my friends. It’s exciting, a bit overwhelming, and also sad, because Josh can’t come, this time.
And what I’m wondering, is what the air will feel like. Will I breathe it in, and realize like my friend, that my most honest nose and lungs require the ocean? Or will I, like the other guy, eagerly anticipating stepping out into the Denver air when I come back home?
Because no matter what, home is where Josh is, and right now, that means Manitou Springs. And my gut is telling me that I’m going to enjoy my time in New York. I truly miss my family and friends out there, like nobody’s business. I do miss the seaside air, sometimes, especially in the summer.
But John Denver wasn’t lying, about the Rocky Mountain High. I haven’t even left yet, and I’m already looking forward to coming back. Now, if only I could win the lottery so I could have the best of both worlds!
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