I remember the day I watched the sunrise from the top of Mt Evans.
My grandparents had passed away a few weeks before and at their request we were supposed to take a trip to Colorado to spread their ashes. It was a strange trip. My mother, uncle, brother and I traveled from our respective states and met in the Denver airport. It was just two weeks after I had the chemical accident which still scars my leg, but I was there with packs of gauze, a tub of silver sulfadine, and an open wound from my knee to my ankle.
We drove around the mountains together looking at wildflowers and old ghost towns while I hobbled around on a cane. At each stop were brought out about my grandfather’s obsession with ghost towns and the old west. There were tales about my grandmother’s poetry and oil paintings from memory.
The trip was supposed to culminate at the top of Mount Evans. We drove up the winding road to the top and parked. My brother helped me to a small rocky outcrop where my grandmother had once had her picture taken. Lighting flashed in the distance. A single beam of sunlight fell on my mother. When my mother said a few words of remembrance, a few drops of rain fell on her. Then the wind changed and covered her with ash. We all laughed. That is how my grandparents would have wanted it. One last laugh.
For me the most amazing part was the next morning. My uncle is a photographer and wanted to catch the sunrise. The two of us rose at 4am to drive up to the top once more. This time I wasn’t in search of closure. I was looking for something else, but I could not tell you what.
I drank hot coffee as we wound up the mountain piled in out warmest coats. When we stepped out, the wind howled over the mountain. I sat on a bench while my uncle set up his cameras. We waited in silence.
The whole world grew brighter as one by one the stars disappeared from the sky. One instant the sky was a deep shade of blue and the next it exploded into light.
Sometimes I wish I could find a way to put that feeling into a story. Other times I am glad I cannot. For me, some things are too personal to turn into fiction. Maybe that’s why I’ve only published a few short stories. I don’t know.
I just know that is one of those moments I carry with me.