Red Rocks.

Red Rocks amphitheater

No big deal.

After spending a week in Indiana, I returned to Colorado in need of an adventure.  I’ve been hearing about Red Rocks for months and Wednesday’s weather report told me the snow wouldn’t arrive until the afternoon, so I grabbed my fanny pack (they are incredibly convenient, and you can all be quiet about it already!) and began driving west.  A CD bearing a collection of songs played live at Red Rocks (thank you to the loaner for those timely tunes) was the perfect accompaniment to the journey.

My excitement began to build as the highway entered the foothills – I was in the mountains!  The closer I got to Red Rocks Park, the more dramatic the scenery became.  Beautiful homes were tucked between sandstone rock formations and scrubby trees.  I pulled off the road at Red Rocks trail to enjoy the view of the valley below.

I continued my steep and winding drive towards the amphitheater, passing few cars on the way.  I parked at the Trading Post (gift shop/Colorado welcome center), picked up a map, and began the short but strenuous hike to the theater.  The guy working at the Trading Post told me I wasn’t allowed to claim altitude adjustment anymore, but some kind of evil forces were afoot on that walk.  The road is so steep you can easily walk it on tiptoes, and I was already winded a third of the way up, let alone the million steps to the top of the theater itself.  Alright, fine – 192 steps.  Apparently people do boot camp here, and I tip my hat to you fools.

As you can imagine based on the photo above, it was WORTH IT.  The view is absolutely stunning.  It was a perfect winter Colorado day: sunny, crisp, and clear, and as a hawk circled above, I felt such gratitude for the opportunity to live here.

There’s a little museum area with memorabilia and audio from concerts past, and I strolled through, reading about the location’s history.  The amphitheater (more or less as it is today) opened in 1941, and construction was part of the efforts to employ workers during the Great Depression.  Before that, people had been performing in the naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater.  And even before that, there were dinosaurs!

After perusing the museum, I wandered down to the stage and imagined how sublime it must be to perform there.  My reverie was interrupted by a girl belting out Journey, and then she and her friends joined me on the stage to do some ballet moves while talking much louder than was necessary in an amphitheater.  HOWEVER, they turned out to be very nice and offered to take my photo on the stage.

Live at Red Rocks!

Live at Red Rocks!

I left the park feeling refreshed and excited for future explorations.  Stay tuned for an upcoming trip to the Beach at Arapahoe Basin!

 

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Hallelujah, By and By.

Do you ever get that feeling, when you’re looking at one of your parents, when you just love them so much that you fear you can’t hold it all, and surely something inside you will explode from the beauty and glee and gratitude and fear?  I felt that way earlier as I watched my mom look through photos of her own mother, who passed away on Sunday morning.  (I have a funny relationship with that term, “passed away,” but I use it deliberately here because “died” has too much finality.)

Life sometimes feels like a series of tangents.  Sentences that you start with the intention of finishing, and then they’re forgotten halfway through.  As we flipped through crumbling old albums, laughing at the perms and the oversize eyeglasses, we remembered an old favorite dress, or a long since broken toy.  The sound of a voice you haven’t heard in fifteen years speaks again, preserved in the mind’s mysterious channels.  You remember the warm scent of Belgian waffles still crisp from the iron, and the pure pleasure of dipping a spoon into a half-frozen glass of milk.

You can feel the scrape of the rough plaid basement carpet on your feet again, and the panicked joy of racing your cousins up the stairs, or around the yard in search of Easter eggs.  You remember hours around a nicked up old kitchen table playing Uno, Skip-Bo, Racko, or Euchre.  Or sneaking into the kitchen after Grandma was asleep, using up all her vanilla extract in uniformly unsuccessful cooking experiments but never getting into trouble for it.  You remember riding in the back of a car that always smelled like Trident gum, and listening to talk radio.

These memories are but a tiny sliver of a life that began in the hills of Virginia and traveled so many unexpected paths, including the one she is surely on now.  Religion can be a touchy topic, and my own beliefs have certainly changed and grown along with me, but  I truly believe that her husband and daughter greeted my Grandma in Heaven with a hug and a hearty “Welcome home.”

A Quick Note.

Hello friends.  I might not be around this week, so I thought I’d give you all your valentine a little early.

Valentine

(Sorry it’s not chocolate – still waiting for someone to invent Wonka-vision.)

I feel blessed to have such an awesome family and so many wonderful friends.  My life is filled with more love than anyone could ask for.  Thank you all for being you.

Barred for Life.

So close...

So close…

Do you see that sliver of silver in the photo above?  That, friends, is Barr Lake.  As you may remember, my first attempt to reach the lake was unsuccessful, as was my second.  On this sunny Saturday, I decided to try again.

As I drove towards the lake, flocks of hundreds of geese flew overhead across the blue sky, streaked by delicate clouds and jet streams.  I pulled into the lot at the edge of the park, hopped out of my Honda, and took a deep breath of warm February air.  (Yes, you read that right – it was almost 60 today.  Have I mentioned how much I love Colorado?)  A line of pine trees led to the lake, which I could just glimpse across the field.

Before I stepped three feet from the car, my spidey senses detected movement.  Camouflaged movement.  Turns out those geese overhead weren’t just for decoration.

After hearing the first loud pop, I turned and saw a flash of fire from one of the hunter’s rifles as he shot at the geese flying directly over my car.  Something (BULLET SHRAPNEL?) landed and skittered across the lot behind me.

I promptly turned on my heel, got back onto the car, and decided to return to Barr Lake when the only thing in season is sunshine.