Friday, April 11, 2014

Colorado Clouds

      If clouds were given directions, then there is a whole manual for clouds over Colorado.  In fact there would be an advertising campaign to attract the clouds and the wind. It would say, “ Accumulate in Colorado, Blow On In, and Scape the Peaks”. 

    While having a late afternoon light dinner at the famous Broadmore Hotel in Colorado Springs, Judith and I watched the clouds practice yet another spectacular whooshing act in the air.  The Broadmore is well sited for viewing the mountains and clouds.  This old hotel and famous golf course are known for its service and accommodations.  As we walked into a restaurant to be seated, Judith was addressed by name and shown a window seat. 

    Later when we asked for a photo to be taken, the gentleman straightening the lounge made antics for us in the background just for fun.
That is service!

     My sister and I have had a rare few weeks together during this journey.  My sister is the extrovert, so we have been a going here and there.  She has many wonderful friends.  One day we visited a friend who lives in a mountain valley that once was filled with redwood trees.  Their stumps were preserved in volcanic ash flows.  In the 1800’s and 1900’s tourists arrived by steam-driven trains and with pick axes and saws whittled the trees to nothing.  Gathered fossil by fossil until just a few remain, now preserved in a national park.  This fossilized stump turned stone bears witness, having grabbed a saw and held it snug as if to say, “Take no more of me.”

     My father knew this country as a young man working in a gold mine in Cripple Creek.  He lived in this Palace Hotel until a doctor told him to leave before his pneumonia got the better of him.  I remember my dad smiling telling about catching a ride in a Model T down the mountain for a wild time in Manitou Springs.   

     I can imagine my dad here in this old town.  I do doubt that he ever meant to make this his lifelong volition.  A friend's dad owned a mine and so he came for a winter.  About the time that my dad was here the claims were starting to dry up.  Life choices turn on things like a cough of pneumonia and the end of a gold line.  This old hotel is now used for storage.  One day it make come alive again as a hotel.  (You might have noticed that there is a snow storm in progress in this photo.  I took it about an hour after that previous sunny photo.  This is Colorado.  The weather state.)

    As I travel through Colorado I feel at home.  I was born here.  The yearly visits back solidified my awareness of why people would come as pioneers, miners, loggers, cattlemen and teachers finding homes in glorious, but remote and harsh environments.  As spring just begins to brush this area, I stopped to take a few photos of an old ranch and its trees. The sight of valleys rimmed with snow-capped mountains grabs me with a furious grip and brings me to a stop before old ranches and cabins.  I’m not sure that I could have resisted a permanent stop at other times in my life.   

     I guess that I am blessed with the chance to stop in my black cabin on wheels and stay awhile in Colorado.  I can watch the beams of light under the clouds highlight cliffs and click one last photo of my clouds in my sky tonight.  I am at a national campground on a senior pass.  Camping is $3.00.  Clouds are free.


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