Happy. That’s what I remember feeling looking west when leaving the Denver airport. Here lies the first glimpse of the mountain chain that I’ve grown the most familiar with.
Colorado—It’s Where you Want to Be. I’m capitalizing that word, Be, because it’s so much more than simply existing, & it’s much more than only surviving. There’s a possibility that I’m projecting here but in my defense it’s hard to imagine that there are people in this world who are not as crazy about the mountains as I am! Anyone can admire the bustling sights and sounds of the city, but when you think of serene where does your mind wonder? Perhaps you’re holding a frothy beverage with a little umbrella, laid back in a sticky blue chair on that Caribbean island with the drinking monkeys. You can laugh at that here on YouTube. (Rowdy little fellas no?). The fact of the matter is . . . that we’re over-stressed and over-civilized; enough so that I often find myself thinking about just letting things go to hell in a hand-basket. Why live a life working a miserable job Monday through Friday only to watch your life quickly skate by, looking forward to weekends, miserable in traffic, thinking materialistic thoughts about what Apple product to purchase next? I don’t think anybody actually WANTS that; but look around, somehow so many of us have fallen into this type of life.
It’s here, in these pristine environments that you really feel that “something different”, that old-world feeling where nature is as it should be and humans are able to be a part of it. Man is constantly reminded of his appropriate place; he’s either insignificantly small while standing beneath at 14er or mightily strong after climbing over it. Coincidentally there’s a culture of respect for this environment because well, not because they’re just a bunch of “hippies” but hell because– when you’re surrounded by a place this beautiful everyday– it’s hard not to care about it.
In Aspen the school district grows it’s own food for students to eat in the cafeteria. Children in the Rocky Mountain states learn science by being out in it. Forgive me for the proverbial phrase here, but this neck of the woods totally has it’s own thing going on.
Many things can be said about Americans. Stereo-typically we’re known for being a pretty selfish group of people. We’ve been accused of being wasteful, overweight, and too wrapped up in our tendencies to value our possessions while keeping up with the Joneses. Talk to someone from Colorado. I’ll almost guarantee you that THEY are not one of THESE Americans. The U.S. contains pockets of cultures, each are complex in their own way. Interestingly enough, the overall vibes are easy enough to pick-up-on here though. The love of the mountains strings together each community in a spider web of homes sparsely scattered across the wind-swept peak faces. A town could be 5 miles away from the next town as the crow flies, but locals have to travel hours, sometimes 50, even 100 miles to go allllll the way around the mountain to get to the next isolated community. Each place is different, with a voice & a story– but aren’t they all!
I spent my childhood summers in Colorado. I’ve gone back there the past two years. I’ve recently discovered that the best time to go is during mid-late autumn because of the contrast that the snow makes visually. But the key– the challenge— is to get through the mountain passes well before you get snowed in. Below you can find my favorite spots from this year.
Aspen Trees, First Snow of Autumn