I spent a week in Colorado this past month for recertification and it reaffirmed a feeling I have had for a number of years now. I belong in the mountains. I have no family history that I know of to account for this feeling. My family hails from Arkansas and the history follows a path through Missouri, Texas and the Carolinas (I think). Granted, there are mountains in Arkansas, but we never lived near them. We’re coastal people; North Little Rock, my birthplace, sits on the Arkansas River across from Little Rock, and Houston is on the Gulf Coast. We have lived in Louisiana and on the peninsula in Virginia as well. No mountains. Maybe that’s why.
Something about the way they reach majestically toward the heavens, snagging passing clouds, covered in snow in the hottest times of the year and looming over the plains below makes them seem indomitable. That they are there year round, unmoving, the only limitations on access being man-made, gives a sense of permanence in a constantly changing world.
As I become more frustrated with the current political/social climate in this country, I dream of escaping to a mountain retreat. A secret bunker hollowed out of a remote mountain where I can hole up and enjoy quiet time with my wife without the hustle and bustle of city life sounds almost idyllic. Of course, this is a pipe dream as I found when visiting Colorado; the mountain sides are covered by the spreading fungus of subdivisions of houses and strip malls. Even the “Top Secret” NORAD base featured in the TV series Stargate SG1 is visible from Colorado Springs as the town has spread up the hill. You can also see one of the most familiar geological landmarks in the country from there.
I drove to the summit of Pike’s Peak along a long, winding road past several impressive, expansive vistas, jutting rocks and picturesque mountain lakes. I saw deer, hawks, and other wild animals along the way. I also saw about a hundred bicyclists, dozens of motorcyclists and bus loads of other tourists at the several gift shops, restaurants and pullouts along the way. There are fast food places not 10 minutes from the gate to Pike’s Forest park as well as shopping centers. Of course, Pike’s Peak is a tourist destination so that’s to be expected. I’m sure there are more remote locations in the Rocky Mountains; at least I hope so.
To be able to wake up in the morning, cast open the curtains and see the splendour of the sunrise lighting up the mountainside is a dream worth pursuing. Spending an evening on the patio watching the setting sun cast the mountains in silhouette against the palette of muave and lavender skies while barbequeing seems an ideal toward which to strive.
My wife and I spent a week last summer in the Grand Teton national park, at the northern most edge of the rockies, and we fell in love with that mountain range. We said right then that we would love to live in that area someday. I’m thinking someday sooner than later. Every time I see pictures of our trips to the mountains, I hear a siren’s call to return to the rolling foothills and jutting peaks. If only I didn’t have to earn money to survive. There are factors keeping us from packing up today. We have a house here, we have kids and grandkids here, and we have jobs and school to finish here. I get frustrated that we can’t just get up and go right now. Heck, I could even jump on the motorcycle and be riding instead of typing this. I do tend to get impatient from time to time.
Someday. Someday soon.