Amber lives out of town. Actually Amber lives in a Denver suburb, which feels out of town. The closest brewery to my house is Black Shirt Brewing. When I started this project, I didn’t know about BSB. We decided to take a nice walk to Our Mutual Friend, which as far as I know it is the second closest brewery (River North Brewing may be closer, but by feet).
Amber and I have known each other for just under ten years. My best friend Jake met her at shows in the Denver area while I was attending a Seattle higher education institution. I wish I could remember the show we met at, it was probably Photo Atlas or Fear Before the March of Flames. Her hair was short, pearl button-ups, and jeans. I thought she was cute, and I hope that I told her that at least once. We talk about it now, laughing about how our friendship has developed. We have a lot of mutual friends; we don’t see them very often.
Amber’s hair is long now and I am losing mine. We catch up on small topics: how are friends are doing, what she is doing, and what I am doing. I talk to her about my projects and she her schooling. Her job. Her condo. The walk passes quickly and soon we are at Our Mutual Friend.
The brewery is busy. On Wednesday nights they have a running club. You start at the brewery and choose to do a 2-, 4-, or 7-mile loop. You get a wristband that gets you a dollar off beer when you return. Go 4 times and receive a free pint. Paul Michael from Mountain Versus Plains started the idea. He wanted people to have a fun opportunity to get out and get active.
Tonight they had three of their beers on tap. We shared tasters of all three. Two dark beers and one light, but I am not over excited about dark beers in the summer. It took barely half an hour to try all the beers. Our conversation was just starting to move deeper. We decided to pay up and head to Meadowlark across the street.
Meadowlark is a basement level bar off Larimer that hosts great shows in their small space. Many complain of the overtly hip attitude, but I go for their back patio. Large, filled with vines and other foliage, it is usually quite empty. We get cans of PBR and head to the back. In the dark, we start talking about what is important in our lives.
I tell her my goals of creating a specific network of people, all with different trades and abilities, to help Denver grow. Not grow in the sense of adding more people, but grow artistically and spiritually as a city. I am looking for the soul of Denver in its inhabitants, drawing them out and creating a greater work. I use ridiculous terms with her and romantically help her envision this idea. Truth is I do not even know for what I am looking. I have a faint idea, but the vision is not complete. Until then I can only have these conversations to slowly define this dream.
Amber tells me she wants to be involved. In some way, she wants to connect with her community. She doesn’t know what or where her community resides. I try to tell her it is all around her; she only needs to reach out. I understand this is easier said than done. I understand it is easy for me. I live in the city. I start drawing back into my mind, searching for solutions.
How can I help people connect? What does that look like? What does that mean? Where will these ideas, this blog, take me?