This evening, the first in several evenings, the air temperature hovered somewhere between teens and twenties, not single digits and below as it has been recently. I took a walk under a glowing moon two days from full and basking the land, in cold white light. I walked to up the hill by my house, to the church on its knoll. And I gazed out over the town of Carbondale below.

I walked up the hill alone, like every night a walk alone.

I watched the glowing taillights of cars below, winding through the neighborhoods, returning to their parking spots for the evening. I watched the rush hour traffic head down valley from Aspen, where daily commuters work but can not afford to live. I gazed at the twin peaks of Sopris bathed in moon.

I sighed. I missed the city.

I missed the energy and random interactions with humanity of all sorts. The diversity of faces you can’t find in this wealthy hippy town in the central Rockies. My favorite Burmese restaurant in the Mission–a literal hole in the wall where four Burmese ladies hustled behind a smokey, steamy diner bar, yelling out orders in Burmese and whipping up ample portions of amazing veggie curry for $5.95. But most of all I missed my friends, a crew I knew for a short time but felt instantly connected to and felt that I’d known before and that I would continue to know through life despite distance.

The kind of connection I’ve rarely felt while living in the Rockies. What is it about the mountains that draws those not seeming to seek deep human connections? Is that why it’s so challenging to make true connections here? Or perhaps the natural transience of mountain transplants makes long time residents more guarded toward the friendships they make. And the transients know they’re just passing through, so longterm friendship isn’t on their wish list. The mountains are so grounding, yet human interactions in this town are less so, and I can’t pinpoint why.

In the city I longed for the mountains. In the mountains I long for the people of the city.

How, where, can you find both? I wonder, as I often wonder. Is there a spot somewhere in this great world where you can have outstandingly beautiful surroundings, massive snowy mountains, easy access to nature, and also, a healthy dose of social activity, where you can on any given night walk down a street and meet a lifelong friend, or be entertained at any time by an amazing, diverse mass of humanity?

I once had a dream I moved back to San Fran, but San Fran was nestled among jagged, snow drenched mountains. I found a quiet, quaint home on a winding hidden ally, with a garden and greenery and easy access to those beckoning peaks. My best friend from the city, lived nearby. My sister, too. And I was close enough to the action of civilization, but far enough from it to stay grounded, connected to nature. And it was perfect.

What a shame it was only a dream.

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