Monday, February 6, 2017

Winter Blues

Many moons ago, back before Sam and I had moved to Colorado, we had come out for a visit to see Sam's father. At the time, his dad lived in Estes Park, which is in the mountains about 35-ish miles north-west of our current residence.
Downtown Estes Park, CO in mid-September 2002. It honestly hasn't changed much in the last 14.5 years.
While we were out visiting, we took a lot of photos.
View from the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, 2002
Although I had considered Boulder (about 15 miles south-west of our current residence) as an option for college just out of high school, I had never visited prior to Sam's and my first road trip together in 2002.

I was absolutely struck by the beauty of this state.
Deer and elk roamed freely through yards during our visit.
The mountains, the sky, the animals all had my attention, and even the populated areas weren't half bad. I jokingly stated at the end of our visit, "We should move here - It's so beautiful!!"
A view from just outside Rocky Mountain National Park looking down into the Estes Park area/valley in 2002. It was a hazy day, but still lovely.
Little did I know at the time that less than half a year later life circumstances would dramatically change and we would do exactly that.
We had to stop during our travel through the mountains because I couldn't get over the rock formations, water and trees.
When we returned home, everyone wanted to see photos from the trip - or at least they feigned interest in such matters, as I'm sure my excitement was obvious. The one question I was continually asked was:  Are the skies really that blue?

Our home at the time was in typically smog-filled southern California and rarely, unless at a beach on a clear day, would we see skies even remotely as clear and blue as those in Colorado. It was easy to understand why people continued to ask the question because to us it seemed such a thing couldn't possibly exist. I assured anyone who wondered such thoughts that the photographs were undoctored and that yes, in fact, the skies truly are that blue.
A photo taken last year, just down the road from home.
I share this today because I understand that I often take my surroundings for granted. It's a lot easier to do than I might have thought at one time, but I am occasionally smacked in the face by a moment or a situation that brings me back to those feelings and thoughts that took place over 14 years ago.
A partly cloudy day, but the backdrop was still something to behold.
Out on a short ride, I caught a glimpse of the blue in the sky and although we are fortunate to have many sunny days in winter, I went back to those conversations years ago and reminded myself that I am so fortunate to call this place home.
A gravel ride three years ago left me in awe of my surroundings.
Occasionally, these rides happen, I think, just to remind me that I shouldn't take any day or situation for granted. I never thought I'd leave home in California, but it happened (and swiftly). I have to remind myself that it could just as easily take place again -- and I could only hope to be so fortunate to find myself in another part of the country with such beautiful surroundings.

It's easy to grow weary of the dry, dead, browns of winter, and this season has been unusually light on snow, making it feel somehow even more dreary (or maybe that's just me). Perhaps my brain expects that if no snow is falling, it should be spring and I expect to see greens and blooms?

Oh well. Regardless, I am enjoying the season and my surroundings as I pedal or walk about. The fat tire bike may not be getting as much use as I'd have thought at the start of winter, but I have no doubt it will see its fair share of time as well. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the tans and browns that overtake in winter, as well as the beautiful winter blue sky. How can I not when there is so much loveliness to see? Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, a small part is still looking forward to spring. It's closing in faster than I thought!


  1. I'm a regular in Colorado. #1 Son lives in Lafayette and works in Boulder at the Thorne Institute. Wifey and I have talked about making the move. Salida has our interest.

    1. How fun that your son is here in Colorado! I've been trying to convince my family to move to Colorado for some time now, but I think with housing costs soaring the last couple of years, it has caused them to reconsider such an idea. Of course, nearly anywhere that a person wants to be it seems housing costs have gone up. I suppose it's all just a matter of what a person can deal with. Coming from California, Colorado properties seemed extremely inexpensive by comparison several years ago, but even that has changed. Of course, it's still not on par with New York, Boston, Chicago, etc.

      I have thought it would be fun to live in Salida. Of course, it's hard to go wrong in many cities in the state, I think. :)

  2. Such a beautiful place. My spouse and I used to spend our summers in Santa Fe. We rented a condo there. I remember asking one of my neighbors who was a year-round resident if he ever got used to it (the breathtaking beauty). "Nope," was all he said. I always wondered if he was serious, or if he was just humoring me since I was clearly captivated by my surroundings. I do think we have an endless capacity for wonder, but also a casual ability to adapt and to take for granted what had once stopped us in our tracks. The good news is that we can always recover the sense of wonder.

    1. I swear, there are days when it just catches me off guard and I have to proclaim out loud how incredibly gorgeous it is here.

      Santa Fe is a beautiful area as well. I've only been a couple of times, but it was nothing like I'd imagined it would be. I think I pictured it more like the remote desert areas of Arizona, so was shocked to see it was nothing like my vision at all. How great that you were able to spend summers in such a gorgeous area!

  3. Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos. I love to see where cyclists ride. Nice header photo of your bicycle, also.

    1. Thank you. I figured it was time to put up a new header photo... it's been quite awhile. :)


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