Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beauty

This past summer was just one amazing landscape and adventure after another. I kept waiting for a disappointing weekend- where I saw nothing interesting, nothing beautiful. In fact, I was so concerned with keeping up my streak of going to these breathtaking places, that I actually became fearful to stay in Denver on the weekend. Mid August, I remember trying to think of when I last spent a full weekend at my apartment in the city. After stalking through my own photo albums on Facebook, I guesstimated it was sometime in November 2011.

This realization almost paralyzed me with a fear of normalcy. What would happen if I actually stayed home on the weekend? Do other Denver-ites actually stay in one place..for extended periods of time? It can't be true. Surely one would die from lack of...lack of...amazingness? Of Excitement? Boredom?

Towards the end of the summer, panic set it. Work would be starting and surely my week long trips would cease. I was cramming in trips like a college student crams in a whole semesters worth of notes the day (night...) before the final. My last hoorah was a camping trip to Lake City. I tired with all my might to draw out the days. I wanted to notice everything. I wanted to take time to observe the few Aspen leaves that were already beginning to change colors. I hiked slowly, thinking that the slower I went, the more I could see and the longer I would postpone "reality." I sat on the summit of Wetterhorn for a good 20 minutes. Turning myself, like a rotisserie, to take a mental panorama snapshot that I would be able to take with me, to keep in a safe place to pull out on a dull weekend in Denver.
Wetterhorn summit register.

Eventually, I had to leave Lake City and subsequently, my adventurous trips behind. My work week came and went and for once, I had no plans for the weekend, except for staying at home. Most of my Saturday mornings were spent rising before the sun did, only to greet it mid way up a mountain. But in Denver, I woke up later and eased into my morning with several piping hot cups of black tea. I piddled around my house in my pajamas for an awful long time. Watered my brownish pathetic looking "plants" which I severely neglected. I was a stranger in my own house and had no idea how to occupy myself. I needed a distraction and a plan. A friend and a run.

The run wasn't anything to write home about. No one comes to Colorado to run on the Highline Canal. Casual conversation, talking about past trips and future plans. But as we turned west off of the trail to head back to my apartment, I saw the Rockies far off in the distance. The sight took me by surprise. Their substantial size seemed to put the smallness of human life into perspective. Even from afar, I could feel their magnitude and see their beauty. The Denver skyline, illuminated by the sun, occupied the foreground, but it didn't disturb the mountains. Without even thinking, I turned to my friend and essentially proclaimed how amazingly lucky we were to live in such a beautiful place. 
Kelly and I in Grand Lake
Tally hos after Pikes summit
An uneventful run on the flat gravel paths of lowly East, East...Denver managed to bring me more enlightenment than all time spent in the mountains over the summer. That single run opened my eyes and allowed me to see that there is beauty in all places, you just have to notice it. For me, the beauty of Denver isn't as prominent as the obvious beauty of a sunrise on an alpine lake, but it is there. I realized that sometimes beauty isn't a landscape or a particular place at all. It's a run with a friend or making dinner with someone. It's catching up over tea or listening to someone else's adventure stories. It is appreciating the people in your life and your surroundings. It comes in small packages or in packages the size of a mountain range. You just have to know where to look.


Tally Hos in Crested Butte
"But there is much beauty here, because there is much beauty everywhere." - Rilke
The Fam in WA. Not on a mountain.
"If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life; it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth."- Mitsugi Saotome

Tessa and I, Longs Peak

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