In the kingdoms of Islam,
was sometimes called the Land Furthest West, part of the Maghreb. A frontier on the edge of that world. I sometimes think of my Kashmir as Morocco ; the last municipality heading west, into the American Maghreb, before the Roof of the World, where the continent splits in half, and the rivers flip a coin by force of gravity to decide whether to flow east or west. Morocco
To start at the beginning would entail going back to the big bang, or perhaps when the world itself was a sphere of molten rock, spinning into the space-bound island we all know and love now. Millions of years later, it was part of a vast sea, then, millions of years after that, it was the sight of a great glacier, which eventually became a lake, before finally wearing through the living rock to carve out the rest of this little Sahel, the narrow rift-like valley, which spans between two sets of tunnels. This is a pocket of nowhere. You jump off the end of the world to get here.
Here, there be dragons…and ghosts and yetis and tommy-knockers and demons and changelings and all other manner of fantastic…
Like almost anywhere else within these mountains, the township is tiered and terraced. The major sections are known as Creek-side and
Hillside, perhaps a whole lot of my side! your side! were one so inclined, although, it seems, we really don’t bother with such pettiness. There’s another section, the Heights, on the other side of the over-and-under-pass, over by the train station and the section mountain that’s home to the necropolis.
Once, this place was one of the greater mining camps. That was so long ago now, it is all but legend, and the bones of old mines pepper the mountainsides like the ruins of a fallen civilization. Nowadays, there are those who would call this place a living ghost town. There are those of us who call it home.
Here, ninety-one hundred eighteen feet above the surface of the worlds’ oceans, along one of the major east-west routes through the
Rocky Mountains, we’re the furthest township west, and the highest up. West up, bitches! is a toast that’s sometimes echoed at the local cantina on those kind of nights. There’s but one paved road, and that leads to the trail head for two fourteeners, ancient buildings, and no standing law enforcement. It’s the closest one can get to being isolated and left alone and still be within the borders of a settlement.
It’s funky little place. Different and perhaps a little difficult. The air is thin. Winters are long, dark, and can be more than a little cold. The summers are short. Sometimes, painfully so.
Still, for those of us that call this place home, it’s a paradise. There is nowhere else in world I have felt I belong like I do here. For that reason, this place, which, in some way that only makes sense to me, is a sort of
Morocco that I call my Kashmir.