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in the distance now. [two artists tuesday]

mountains in the distance CO copy

i cry when i first see them.  i cry when they are disappearing.  those mountains.  my last long look at them as we drive east out of colorado.  those billboards and tshirts and bumper stickers that say, “the mountains are calling and i must go” speak to me.  they have ever since i was 18 and first experienced them.  john denver’s rocky mountains have been a lure for decades now.  and i can feel the pull, even from a distance.

if you look past the horizon in this photograph you will see what i last saw as we drove away a few days ago.  you won’t know that tears came to my eyes or that i turned in my seat to watch the vista fading away at 70mph.  we didn’t even get into the mountains this trip and i could still feel my heart stretching, reaching to hold on.

they are in the distance now.  so much so that i cannot see them.

but i carry those mountains with me and know we will one day, again, be there.  i will catch my breath when they loom suddenly into view.  we will drive deeper into them, surrounded by forest and canyons and soaring beauty.  we will hike on adventures and we will sit and gaze in wonder.  and then, when it is time to leave, i will crane my neck and watch them disappear.  into the distance.  no dry eyes here.

read DAVID’S thoughts this TWO ARTISTS TUESDAY

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the mountains are calling.

there is a spot when you are driving to colorado that – all of a sudden – the mountains come into view. they are far away, on the horizon, but their presence hits me to the core. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i get tears in my eyes. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we come over the rise of the pass and i instantly weep. there in front of us are these incredible soaring heights of rock, dotted with gorgeous green pine trees, verdant aspens. every single time i catch my breath. every single time i weep. every single time i anticipate the air i feel there, the space, the vastness, the greatness, the majesty of those ever-present giants.

we sit in adirondack chairs in the snow, midway up a-basin, soaking in the sun, eating baradirondackchairsAbasinbecue, listening to a band. in front of us, hundreds of spring skiers and boarders go past us – we virtually have front row seats. we watch the girl approach from the heights of the ski mountain…she gets closer, closer. her ability on that snowboard astounds us. she is one with it; her passion for the snow obvious in her huge laughter as she stops abruptly in front of us, deliberately and generously spraying us with snow and slush. leighonsnowboardi catch my breath as i look at my beautiful daughter, the mountains behind her, intense sun. i laugh, all the way from my heart, as i celebrate with her. this air, this space, this vastness, this greatness, this majesty.

one of our hikes was about 6 miles, half of that all uphill. not uphill like the little hill that used to be at the end of the road i grew up on, where you could not pedal all the way down and the momentum would take you all the way around the corner and beyond. no, this uphill is serious. i’m not sure of the elevation gain, but, after the hike, i would swear it paralleled everest.  …ok, maybe not so much… regardless, it was uphill in snow. snow! we were hiking well into june and there was snow on this trail. lots of it. feetinsnowhikingthe air was clear and crisp. the sun dappled through the trees. (haven’t you always wanted to write that? “dappled through the trees.”)   when you are on the mountain hiking, you aren’t as aware of the mountain, if that makes sense. (i remember one time out in the colorado mountains when i was heading to a concert venue and they gave me directions through high elevation plains.  i drove along, wondering where the mountains had gone.  when you are up on them, you don’t see them.  so much like life, eh?)  but when you are hiking and you come up to a clearing kdotatclearingand there is a break in the trees and you can see beyond where you are standing, beyond the trail, beyond limitations, you can see that the mountains out there go on and on and on. we came upon such a clearing and i caught my breath. i didn’t want to turn around. i wanted to keep going and going. to see more of this space, this vastness, this great majesty.

we were driving down the mountain and came upon a lookout with a trailhead. stopping to get out and stretch our legs on the trail we took a few pictures. (this is a never-ending thing…there is an incredible photograph every other second. you have to be careful to not get lost behind the camera – sometimes you miss the moment that way.)  the photographs looked not “real”  –  the beauty so …….what word is bigger than astounding? i stand and look out in amazement.   tears of gratitude and joy and sheer life make me catch my breath.   once again, that air, that space, that vastness, that greatness, the majesty. all right there.

lake dillon

it’s funny how when i write about these mountains, this place, i can’t seem to stay in the same tense. if she reads this, andrea will shake her head and wonder if i remember anything she taught me about writing back in high school. but there is something that dominates my need for tense-correctness in this writing. it’s the holding-on-feeling-it-still-ness of these moments. it confuses the tense use, but helps me – viscerally – like goose bumps on my skin – remember. so i will forgo correctness for anything to burn these golden moments – like a kiln with raku pottery – into my memory bank, open to draw upon any time i need to.

i cry a lot in the mountains. it’s always good. it’s Divine Intervention reminding me to breathe, touch, taste, see, feel each and every moment. they are vast and great and majestic. every one is our own mountain. and yes, they are calling.

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