In Colorado the license plates used to say “God’s Country”, back when that sort of thing didn’t raise eyebrows. Not because anybody was particularly religious, but because the mountains were so beautiful most days it almost hurt just to look outside. To be honest though, now when I get off the plane at DIA for maybe another funeral, I don’t feel a thing for the place. I could be anywhere. No rush of “Home!” in the chest.
After the most recent said funeral, my cousin and I decided for old time’s sake to go fly fishing. We went to the local sporting goods store to top up our gear, and I realized I’d need a fishing license. The kid behind the counter asked if that was for “Resident” or “Non-Resident”. Without thinking, I said “Resident”. He asked for my driver’s license.
I paused for a long moment. Then I replied carefully that a driver’s license wasn’t going to be necessary. I was born and raised here, that should cover it. The kid didn’t seem to catch on, and pressed me again. I am not a small man at 6’4″, and my cousin goes by “Stork”, at 6’6″. To my surprise as much as the clerk’s, I leaned over him and asked how long he’d been living in the state. 2-3 years, like most of the other ski bum, rock climbing, hippie arrivistes I’d dealt with growing up. Then in a slow drawl, my eyes locked on his, “Son, my family came here in covered wagons. Five generations are buried in the shadow of this mountain. I said, give me a resident license.”
Stork grabbed my arm. “Randy! Cut the shit! You don’t live here anymore. Give him the money.” I wouldn’t break my gaze with the clerk, and I said I wanted a resident license. Stork threw some money on the counter, got the license, put it in his pocket, and pulled me out of the store, still staring at the clerk.
Such are matters of blood and dust.
Grandfather trout waits
Mayflies hatch within the hour –
Time for catch and kill
Late Entry for dVerse’s Hometown Haibun