Ruibal column: A blazing symbol of home
I arrived in Glenwood Springs on Memorial Day weekend. I arrived in my new home after 1,200 miles of highway, countless McDonald’s stops and a tornado threat. I had never seen so many mountains.
My landlady pointed to one of the mountains that greet you from the porch door.
“Do you see the cross up there?” she asked, gesturing to the top. I squinted and peered before feigning a “…yeah!” She said it’s easier to see at night when it’s lit up and should be this weekend for the holiday.
My newly purchased furniture hadn’t been delivered yet, so my mom and I spent the night in a motel along 82. After a full day of shopping, exploring and settling in, I had almost forgotten about the cross until we spotted it from the motel parking lot.
The cross is perched on top of Red Mountain and is illuminated on holidays and every day from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. I can see the cross whether driving home from Carbondale or from Rifle.
The cross can be interpreted — and rightfully so — as a blazing symbol of Christianity. That’s what a cross is. But to me, it’s a blazing symbol of home.
I write this column from Cincinnati, which I’ve recently tried to stop referring to as home. It’s a minor change. It’s normal and correct to say I’m “going home for the holidays.” But then there’s some murkiness when explaining that I live and work in Glenwood. But maybe I’m just overthinking chitchat with strangers at the airport.
I’m sure all young adults go through this change of what was home and is a hometown to where home is now and if an address change is enough.
I had never seen so many mountains and after a while in this completely new place, they started to feel suffocating. I felt isolated from all that I knew as home. So, as a new Coloradan, I went on a hike. I hiked the Doc Holliday trail a couple of blocks from my home. It’s a simple hike — really more of a walk — but it brought me up and showed me the town from a new perspective. I could see the unlit cross across the way. I suddenly felt less suffocated, and more cradled. I moved 1,200 miles away to a new place that could keep me safe. It had everything I needed, including a lot I wasn’t aware that I did.
I have everything in Glenwood that it takes to make a place home. I have a full-time job in my career. I have friends to get drinks and go on hikes with outside of work. I have places where I’m a regular and they know how to spell my name. I have a lot of comfy throw blankets and art on my walls. I don’t have a dog yet, but I’m working on it.
I have found in this place a confidence in myself to be the adult I in fact am. I have found an appreciation and love for the land that surrounds me. I have found a light welcoming me home.
Sallee Ann Ruibal is engagement editor at the Post Independent and is still unabashedly falling in love with her home. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.