In 1997 the itch to move west intensified significantly. Short vacations up into the Colorado Rockies just weren't enough scratching at that itch to satisfy any longer. Tenth anniversary graduating from college and starting to work as a "professional" was just a couple of months away and I wasn't at all happy living so far east of the Rocky Mountains anymore.
While driving through the San Juan Mountains on the way to some old trekking haunts in Arizona and Utah that October, I pulled over here and sat half the day gazing at the glowing beauty around me and pondering my situation in depth. I knew risks and challenges would have to be braved making my escape to ensconce myself in such wilderness on a long term basis. It was a warm day and I soon dozed of to dream about it. In that dream snippets of Chip & Dale cartoons played on the view screen of my mind. Waking to the sensation of something on my chest, I opened my eyes to find a vole there eating crumbs of crackers I had been snacking on before the nap. It was facing me, munching away at the corner of a chicken flavored crumb, completely unafraid. It may have been enjoying my body heat as well as the tasty morsel of cracker. A risk taker. I let it finish eating, enjoying the sight of the audacious little creature.
The following year I began making moves to escape. Two years after that it finally happened and as I drove west away from the stench and noise of Dallas, that little vole popped into my mind. Grinning at the memory of its bold approach to life, I savored the thought of risks and challenges ahead.