Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Returning to Colorado

My mother's greatest wish was to return to Colorado. She missed Boulder, the Flatirons, Telluride, Trout Lake, her homes there and all the beautiful mountains.

Today I am driving her to Colorado--that is, I am driving her ashes.

The Telluride native, after all her adventures, is returning to Colorado.

I feel her presence with me in the car. Her ashes are glad to be done with sitting on my mantelpiece in California, glad to be speeding across the Mohave to Needles, Kingman, and Flagstaff, glad to be cross the Navajo Nation and reaching the Four Corners, then crossing the San Juan River into Colorado, driving through Cortez up the Dolores River valley to Trout Lake.

I couldn't take her here in the summers of 2005, 6, and 7, but she is going now. Last summer when I drove to Colorado, she said, "Is there any good reason why you can't take me with you?"

I mentioned one or two reasons, but there were many: her incontinence, her wheelchair-bound status, her weakness (unable to drive in a car for eight hours per day), her need for an oxygen-supply tank once we arrived, my lack of strength to transfer her into wheelchairs every time we left the car and then put her back in the car, the vigilance she would need at night, my lack of patience for dealing with all this.

At any rate, today I am driving her and some of her most treasured possessions to Trout Lake. I will leave her diary of 1936-38 and various photos in her cabin there. I will lead a service of deposition of remains with my brother Jim and his sons present as we lay her ashes to rest where she wanted them to be, near her cabin at Trout Lake.

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