My psyche craves seeing wide open spaces and horizons that are closer to a 360 degree view than 90 degrees. This may come from growing up in the western part of the US or the DNA from the pioneers and wanderers of my ancestry.
Instead of chocolate for physical nourishment, two weeks ago a trip across the mountain to Durango was in order as a treat for the eyes and heart and soul. There is history between myself and this part of the state and several of my oldest friends and my brother and his wife live there. My psyche is very aware of the mixed feeling of returning to one’s past to see the scenery, but knowing that the introspection can be brutal. But, extraordinary elders in training also understand that you can’t always choose what experience will be the “best” to help you on your journey through this life.
A trip in autumn through the Rocky Mountains allows for a dose of beautiful colors and Mother Earth’s wonders that are difficult to see in a city. Travel across the state from north to south abounds in various ecosystems along the way and subtle changes in the landscape every two dozen miles. I have driven this route more than 50 years in all seasons and seldom tire of it or approach it with certainty. A dust storm across the fields in the San Louis Valley, the slick road and blizzard getting across Kenosha into South Park, deer and antelope crossing a road at dusk, and a family classic, my needing to take a nap break when I was the driver with children, and stopping atop Red Hill for my brain to shut down for a few minutes. Every trip leaves me with the same abiding sense that while, being allowed to pass this way again, it is never guaranteed in this vast space of nature and time.
As a driving trip full of memories and full of the joy of a bright blue sky, the shades of brown and yellow and green and red showing all around the season enveloped me. Looking more closely you can see that the leaf of a cattail is brown a the top, moves to a dark yellow as you proceed to the green at the base of the leaf. All the seasons of life for the year shown for all to see.
This year, when passing by the Collegiate Range, the clouds in the sky required a longer look. Recently having become a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, an obligation to cloud watch was presented me and I could not resist fulfilling my duty. There had been fog in Turkey Creek Canyon and ventricular clouds after that and now a huge Cumulonimbus with its lower half starting to slosh with liquid to water the mountains.
The rest of the trip was filled with migrating flocks of birds and at my brother’s a large family of Colorado blue birds helping him irrigate with his water allotment, by hopping on the sprinkler heads set in the field. The land he and his wife and animals live on is outside of Durango to the south. On the other side of the road from the ranch some of the farms refer to their spot in the landscape as the edge, or rim of the mesa. But the true mesa is behind the Hudson land and standing at any spot gives me the nourishment of the long line of horizon and enough open space to breathe. That, at the end of the trip, is a beautiful thing.