Years ago I read that Pueblo Indian children are told that wherever they walk, they leave their breath. That way each place they visit never forgets them. It captivated me because developing an intimacy with a place demands the same thing as a person — time, trust, reverence and care.
I’ve spent 20 years cultivating my relationship with the American West, but I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my younger sister Lucy Peglar (Anth’98). Her passion for CU-Boulder and the city around it lassoed me in and kept me perched on the edge of the Rocky Mountains long after she left to follow a career.
She visited Boulder in July after a seven-year hiatus, and it was an unspoken spiritual journey. “I live in Uruguay, but Boulder is my home,” she told many people, including the Turkish tailor who has been in business on The Hill for 35 years.
I thought of the Pueblo children when I heard my sister say this. By developing a relationship with a place, it changes you and you are never fully whole until you return. Feeding a piece of her soul, my sister hiked in Chautauqua, visited with her closest college friends, people-watched at Trident Café and browsed the Boulder Bookstore.
Writer Wallace Stegner worried Americans were too busy to develop deep relationships with the place in which they lived. He once asked, “I wonder if ever again Americans can have that experience of returning to a home place so intimately known, profoundly felt, deeply loved and absolutely submitted to?” Perhaps he didn’t know many CU-Boulder alums.