Sitting Somewhere Not Quite on Top of the World… But Close Enough

Today was my first day “off” since we arrived on Monday. Monday was spent traveling here and getting set up in the RV park. Tuesday was spent working on client projects, as was Wednesday and Thursday. So, today was my first day of freedom!

Pops and I took a trip on the 4-wheeler up into the mountain passes. (I uploaded a slew of new photos onto the Colorado Photo Blog to go along side the few shots I made on the way into Salida.)

And, I must admit publicly that my client was right, it would have been a crime to come back out to Colorado again this year without a decent camera. That client, Alpharetta real estate agent and camera buff, Jeff Aughey, send me one of his cameras to borrow for the trip. He had to fuss for me to finally accept (He started out trying to give it to me, but I
refused and we finally agreed to a temporary loan). Now, I’m probably going to end up buying one just like this one. It’s a tiny little “fit in the palm of your hand” Cannon with 7.1 megapixels. It’s wonderful. I had to call Jeff tonight to tell him that he was right and how much I appreciated the loan. (Thanks again, Jeff!)

I must admit that the view from the campground made working on standard projects a bit more enjoyable than usual. And I’m starting to breathe a bit easier — not much, just a bit. So long as I don’t have to walk to fast or too far, or (God forbid) run — like I had to yesterday when Pop’s dog, Abby accompanied me on my a.m. constitutional and decided to take off after some other dogs).

The sights from up in the mountains were astounding…

As we went up the steep path, it became obvious that we were the first to brave the trail this spring. There were downed aspens here and there. Some we could go around, others we had to cut through. (That meant a trip back to the truck to get the bow saw.) On the way up the mountain, we were pelted with tiny bits of snow. On the way back down a couple hours later, there was quite a bit of snow. And this wasn’t Kentucky variety snow. Back home we have these giant flakes (or sometimes tiny ones) that are beautifully formed geometric patterns. (The kind you try to imitate with a plain white sheet of paper, folded and cut with safety scissors in kindergarten.) I always like going out in the snow back home wearing something dark (as if I ever wear anything else) so that I can see the crystals more clearly as they land on me.

Here, the snow comes down in what Pops calls “Hershey’s Kisses” — what I call tiny hail balls. They are like loose Styrofoam beads and these also cling together when they touch. I have photos on the photo blog showing them on Pops’ black jacket, on Abby and falling among the Aspens. In the mountains, it goes from sunny and warm — to snowing and frigid in a matter of seconds. It’s so odd. The weather is so fickle up high. I didn’t have any elevation sickness problems today, but Pops assures me we weren’t that high. It sure SEEMED high.

On the way up, we saw a herd of Mule deer. They were so tame, and so curious about us. I did manage to get several shots of the herd with the camera.

It was all beautiful, but there were some views of the type you remember forever.

Standing and staring out over range after range of mountains, catching glimpses of higher peaks on the way up and looking down on some lower lying ones… it occurred to me that this range is kinda like my life. Every time I see a peak and climb it, there’s always another one higher nearby. It’s like life goals — there are always bigger, scarier, more exciting and more demanding ones. The second you think you are in the highest spot, the fog clears a bit, the sun shines down and you see a taller summit nearby.

I think that maybe I need to quit assuming that just because I can SEE another taller summit, I need to CLIMB it. Maybe I’m not just as stubborn as a goat, maybe I share some other traits — like the compulsion to climb the highest thing in sight. metaphorically speaking. Maybe what I need to do is find the “life summit” with the best view and be happy there.

You know, I may have that problem in life, but I don’t have that problem in the mountains. Pops hurried me up to leave the most beautiful view I’ve probably ever seen. I asked why he was in a hurry and he said, “We have places to go and more things to see!” and I told him “But I’m happy right here.” He laughed and trotted back through the bank of snow that kept us from taking the 4 wheeler any higher. And then it hit me. My father is fine with his life where he is. He’s been able to “just be” and to enjoy life since about the age of 45 — a trait that sometimes makes my mother crazy. She, like me, always runs around trying to accomplish more things. But here, he’s the one that’s anxious to go and do more, and I’m quite happy to find my own place to be happy and to simply go there — and stay.

With that view spread before me, what I wanted most of all was to sit down and write — keeping that view only a glance away. I was happy there. Right there. It didn’t matter that there were taller peaks, that there were many things I’d not yet seen . I was completely at peace exactly where I stood. And I wonder how I’ll manage to create that same feeling in my life. I know it’s time. I know I’m headed to climb that last mountain right now — I’m just in the position where I have to pick the peak. And you know… after today’s trip… I realize that it doesn’t really matter which I pick, or if there is a better view from someplace else. So long as I find a view on the one I select that I really love, all is well.

And going up that mountain, there were several places where I could have happily stayed and pulled out my moleskin notebook and pen and written my day away. And I could have done so in complete happiness — not knowing that the topmost view was the best. Of course… that top view was breathtaking and put the whole day… the whole world… and my entire life in a bit sharper focus.