The summer of 1997, when cell phones were still novel and farmers markets were still about farmers, I spent the summer in Boulder. My internship at Time Warner Telecom was in the DTC, but I didn’t mind. There were roommates to hook up with, real hippies to discover and new words to learn. Trustafarian was my first. That summer, the Wallflowers were hot. I threw Kraft boxes full of macaroni at BareNakedLadies on the Winter Park slope and I soaked naked in the Ouray hot springs. I sure thought I was cool, but I still had no idea what life was all about.
What I remember most from that summer was the rain. Every day. Around 6:30. Inside, my roommates would smoke pot. On the porch, I watched the world through slots in our mocking, white picket fence. Then the sun would rush back out to cover the earth as if the sky had never been crying in the first place.
When I moved to Colorado for good in 1998, it was a sky of a different color. Less rain. More emotional stability. But still, about the same amount of weed if you looked hard enough.
Eleven years later, the summer of 2009 brought back the vulnerability of 1997. Almost every afternoon, the sky would darken. And then it would begin to pour. Tentatively at first, but eventually letting it all out. My pregnant belly and I watched and sometimes wept from the bedroom, wondering if everything was really coming full circle.
Then one night at Red Rocks, two weeks before I birthed Scarlett, it did.
Our baby was tucked tightly inside my belly, I was tucked tightly inside a poncho and Michael’s hand was tucked tightly inside mine. Adam Duritz sang about Middle America. Augustana hummed along. The 20-somethings danced, drunk and high, all around us, the little girls in their high heels struggling up the steps of life looking for someone to love them. We savored every cold drop, saw our concert memories run away down the mountain and watched the perfect blue buildings of our life disassemble. We were scared, but the universe insisted that it was time. So we clung to each other as if we were on some vintage log ride at Adventureland, slowly going up the tracks, realizing that we were about to start over, that we would emerge from this tunnel as not two, but three, and that the splash would feel softer, wetter and stronger than ever before.