There’s something a bit mysterious about going West, as if it’s somehow still a part of the frontier. Granted, humans have stamped the wild with asphalt and power lines; true wilderness is hard to come by. However, some portions remain undeveloped – like pieces of Rocky Mountain National Park – thus retaining a small portion of its frontier-like nature. I can only imagine what the settlers felt like, traveling for months over the plains, ever hopeful for California’s blue shores, only to see the Rockies on the horizon, growing taller and taller with each mile closer.
“Well shoot,” I imagine them saying. (They probably said a few other things too, like, wow, we survived the plains just for this?! and wow, we’re all going to die.)
The West’s lingering essence of wilderness is made evident as you cross the plains and begin your descent into Denver, the turbulence shaking your 80-ton plane like a lightweight play toy. Thanks to the wind patterns caused by that great mountain range, I’ve yet to have a smooth flight into Denver on my now fourth descent into the Mile High City. It reminds you of the power of the mountains – the fact that they retain their own weather patterns completely independent of the neighboring plains. Looking out of the window, I can only see fields for miles and miles, and I wonder about those who inhabit and cultivate these fields below me. What is their life like, settled on this farm, working away at the soil? It’s so completely unlike any of my own experiences, and because of this, I’m curious. I wonder, too, what the settlers would think of us now, with our ability to sweep across the country in a matter of hours when it took long and perilous months to cross this wide country.
And then you land and you see the hazy outline of the mountains against the sky, its ridges like the edge of a piece of poorly torn paper. The city rests a few miles away from the airport, 500 foot skyscrapers set against 10,000 foot peaks.
It’s beautiful here: the way wild sunflowers blanket the roadside; the way the pewter mountains’ outlines peer through grey veils of rain; the way the dark clouds tumble in over the peaks unexpectedly, crowding out the blue in a matter of minutes; the way the thunder crackles rather than rolls, rebounding off the cliff faces until it drowns in the valley below; the way the trees grow precariously aside cliffs and stone, their branches reaching out like a ballerina’s arms attempting to keep balance on the beam.
If I’ve learned anything from my travels this year, it’s that there’s not just so much to see. There’s everything to see.
Society puts restrictions on travel to the retirement period of life. Until then, a life of whimsy is frowned upon and a life spent focused on a career and a family is what’s expected. Don’t get me wrong, I have high career goals for myself and one day would like to have a family of my own. However, I’m not content with simply following the generic life blueprint that puts any sort of real travel and spontaneity at a point more than 30 years from now.
After all, there’s everything to see. Why wait until age 60 to begin?
“Ask Yourself” – Foster the People
I had the pleasure of seeing Foster the People Wednesday night at one of my favorite venues, Red Rocks Amphitheater (GUYS it’s a venue on the side of a MOUNTAIN!). The band put on a great show that made for a lovely evening. In honor of this, I present to you “Ask Yourself” – an upbeat tune encouraging life reexamination (how appropriate!) – from the band’s new album, Supermodel. Enjoy.