Hello, lovelies! How was your holiday weekend? I hope you celebrated the USA’s birthday in style.
I went up to a fireworks show northeast of Denver with my fun friends, who had heard this particular show was the best. There were food trucks, live bands, a beer garden, and the fireworks did not disappoint. I also got a thrill remembering it was July 4th last year when I told all my Brooklyn friends I had decided to move…and here I was, watching fireworks in Denver!
On Saturday I decided to celebrate a different kind of independence. After a couple of very busy weeks, I was on the verge of blossoming into a full-blown bitch. I hate feeling cooped up, and my fuse was shorter than a July 4th sparkler. To protect the innocent bystanders, I set off on a solo trip into the mountains – specifically, to Bailey, Colorado.
Even though I’ve lived here over eight months (holy crap, by the way…when did that happen?), I’ve only been in the mountains a handful of times, and that moment when you cross into the Rockies still feels so symbolically important. If you’ve been to the area, you’ll know what I’m talking about, but the whole area leading up to the mountains is flat, flat, flat. So there is a marked delineation that makes this passage feel not just like you’re driving west on the highway…you’re going on an adventure.
As I tooled down 285, the landscape changed as the altitude climbed. The towns got smaller and the evergreen trees grew closer together. I stopped at a country store “strip mall” in Pine Junction – a tiny bead store caught my eye. I walked in, and in addition to colorful strings of beads, the toothless old hippie and his two dogs also sold incense, tie-dyed shirts, and stones with mystical powers. Some promised to balance your chakras, others to protect you from harm. I thought about buying a couple until I realized a.) I didn’t want to be the weirdo with rocks clanking around in her pockets and b.) I had a flashback to Spencer from The Hills and his obsession with crystals. Anybody else remember that? No? Just me? Cool.
Instead, I just said thank you and went to leave. My hand already pushing open the door, the store owner called out, “Don’t you want to pick a card?” He pointed to a deck of what looked like tarot cards.
“Absolutely,” I said, approaching the counter. He told me to shuffle the deck and pick one card, which would give me a message for the day. I cut the deck a few times until a card with a white scratch appeared on top. “This one,” I said, as I slowly flipped it over. It was a green stone labeled “Forgiveness.”
“Well, you picked my most expensive stone!” he said. He flipped through a book until he reached the page he was looking for, pointed to the text a few times, shoved the book into my hands and said, “this is your message. Read it.”
It told me that I’d been holding onto something and needed to forgive this person so I didn’t get stuck in the same old negative patterns. I was to envision cutting my karmic string connecting me to this person while saying “I release you from playing this role in my life. Go in peace.” It was just what I needed to hear, and I envisioned cutting a string or two.
After a lunch of green chili in a biker bar, I continued through Bailey and drove around Pike National Forest. It was so quiet and beautiful, and there were more pine trees than you could ever count.
I returned to Bailey, where I found this little scene:
Just to add to the charm, you had to cross this bridge to enjoy that view:
After wandering along the river for a few minutes, I followed a sign that promised live music. It turned out to be a winery, where I enjoyed a wine tasting flight and listening to three middle-aged hippies cover Green Day. Feeling refreshed in my soul, I headed back home to Denver.
To top it all off, I went to Jazz in the Park in Denver’s City Park on Sunday night. Three of us packed a picnic and enjoyed some great music in the last few hours of sunlight. Sometimes I just have to pinch myself.