The Price of a Memory

“And the price of a memory
Is the memory of the sorrow it brings” – Counting Crows, “Mrs Potter’s Lullaby”

Saturday, at SLC Airport, I was looking at the mountains, like I always do – and it always makes me homesick for Utah. Always.


For a po’ boy from Flat Red Clay, Alabama, I’ve been allowed to do some cool stuff, in some cool places, with some cool people. And, hey, that’s cool.

But a result of all that joy, for a guy like me, is the sadness of knowing it’s gone.

We lived in Park City from 1998 until 2005, and then left for Arizona, and I remember that I could not believe that I had been dumb enough to leave Park City (especially to go to Arizona in June, but that’s not important right now). I felt for some time that I would be forced to wander this world in exile – that God, having given me Paradise, would not look kindly on me for having thrown it away.

Then, in 2013, we moved back to Park City.

And then, by the strangest set of circumstances….we left Park City YET AGAIN.

Now, it’s true that we left for Montana, which is much better than being slapped in the belly with a wet fish – and there were things about our return to PC that simply weren’t working. Kim’s job was forcing some strange constraints on us, and in addition, Park City had grown more than I could have imagined possible. So we left.

Before we left, though, we looked for someplace else in the valley to live, and that didn’t work. But all of the places in the valley that we looked at seriously afforded us a view – well, the view you see above.

And we left that.

Montana is gorgeous, and if we drive into Glacier Park, then it’s very dramatic – but the Flathead Valley, while being very beautiful, isn’t so dramatic. The mountains are there, but they aren’t…well they’re not in your face, like the mountains in the Wasatch Front.

Now, I’m building a ridgeline view home, and it’s only nine miles from the chairlift – there is no way that I could ever afford to do that in Utah. In the Salt Lake Valley, you’re gonna be 30-45 minutes away from the chairlifts in even the best locations, and anywhere in Park City, the home we’re building would be something along the lines of 1.5 million.

And Park City, again, has gotten so crowded that the traffic is terrible. And in those “best locations” in the Salt Lake Valley, you’ll need locks and security systems. And you’ll be sitting in traffic no matter which direction you drive.

But here’s the thing about memories and emotions – comparisons aren’t made against what might be, or what might have been. Comparisons are made between what IS, and what WAS. And the life that we had that first seven years in Utah was wonderful.

We couldn’t have the life that we have now in Montana back in Utah.

Now, full disclosure – I’m 21 years older now than I was when we first moved to Utah. My body won’t do now what it would do then, and it will never feel as good as it felt back then. So that tends to color my memory of the past, and to shade my perception of the present.

Going back to Utah won’t bring back my sub-1:30 half marathons 🙂 …and it won’t let me ski first chair to last chair after running in the morning, either.

But, I look up at those mountains, and…dang….

“If all you’ve got to live for
Is what you left behind,
Get yourself a powder charge
And seal that silver mine….   — Grateful Dead, “Half-Step Mississippi Uptown Toodle-Oo”


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