Sunday, September 19, 2010

mountain maiden.

With a rather reluctant heart, I left my old, Indiana home. I kissed the dogs goodbye, shed a couple of tears across the causeway of Lake Monroe and didn't look back as we headed west on I-70.

I am not the first, nor will I be the last to be afflicted with this fever. Go West! The mountains have always called to me. Not to wax anthropomorphic, but their giant, hulking forms make me feel safe and grounded in a way skyscrapers never could.

My release from graduate school and subsequent deposit upon the mad world was simultaneously exhilarating and mortifying. Yes, I had put in the time, blood, sweat and tears but that's not always enough to generate sustainable income. I had heard nightmare stories about some graduates remaining unemployed for, gulp, years. I diligently applied, applied, applied and got rejected, rejected, rejected. Eventually I got an interview, and when I was offered the job I decided it was time to move. Time to bite the bullet and get out of Indiana.

I harbor no ill will towards the state of Indiana. In fact, the only two things I could actually say that I hate about Indiana are the anti-abortion billboards and the "In God We Trust" license plates. Not too bad, right?

So I got a job in colorful Colorado. If there is one thing I love, it's the drive to Colorado from Indiana. Most of Indiana, Illinois and Missouri is green, relatively flat and scarred with bridge-spanned rivers. Kansas almost feels like going to Mars. Beautiful, desolate, shaped and molded by wind, water and time. The land continues to obey gravity all the way through eastern Colorado (arguably more desolate than Kansas) until finally a portion of the horizon seems shadowed. Soon the purple stain is obviously something more. A wrinkle in the fabric of the earth. A glacial eruption of land that blocks the horizon and grazes the cloudless sky. Home.

And here I am in Colorado Springs, Colorado where every day is an adventure. I am settling in to my new job and loving every minute of it. Still get lost at least once a day- "I'm going the wrong way again?" I have begun my yoga practice anew and am exploring my physical and mental limitations and strengths. Coming to tadasana with an actual mountain in view brings a whole new sense of awareness and focus to the posture. One can only hope to extend and reach to the heavens with an ounce of the majesty and grace that these peaks display. So I am on my way to achieving my goal: becoming certified to teach yoga in the next year or so!

This move has provided me with excellent fodder for a healthy, happy blog! Exploring a new city and state is about as fun as it gets. I look forward to sharing my experiences with hiking, skiing, sightseeing, and most importantly, eating! I am already planning to devote an entire blog post to baking at altitude- something I am both nervous and ecstatic to try my hand at. Boiled my first pot of water the other day, and let's just say that living over a mile above sea level definitely dashes the adage that a watched pot never boils. There are also tons of great restaurants to try (and review). One I can't wait to go to is an organic peanut butter and jelly spot downtown, with a menu devoted entirely to quite possibly the mother of all comfort foods. They have some really interesting combinations- Thai peanut butter with pear jelly and sprouts anyone? More on that later...

Today I decided to take advantage of the great weather that is rather commonplace out here. (And to think I almost moved to Eugene!) Helen Hunt Falls is a spot that had been recommended to me, and when I discovered it was only about a 10 minute drive from my apartment I loaded up the camera and plenty of water and went for an adventure. The falls are actually part of the North Cheyenne Canon Park, which is a city-run park and free to the public. The drive up the canyon was absolutely stunning and the 20 mph speed limit was perfect since my mouth was open in wonder the entire time- guess I'm a gaper after all. The road hugs the mountain, and sandy red cliffs rise alongside with boulders like giant dinosaur eggs perched at intervals. This is definitely a popular spot for locals and tourists alike; the road was lined with parked cars and people out enjoying the late summer day. There were several other places along the way to stop and hike, but I continued up, up, up to reach the falls. (I noticed that the road continues on up the mountain so sounds like another adventure!) The hike from the parking lot to the upper falls is about 1/3 mile uphill. I made it without much trouble, but my lungs are still adjusting to the thinner air here! The falls themselves are strongest at the foot of the trail and from the top it is hard to imagine how it gains such momentum as the water seems like barely more than a trickle from between the rocks. I reached the top alone and was soon joined by two men who asked me to take a picture of them. We got to talking and had a fabulous conversation about all the great food in the Springs and surrounding areas. It's amazing the people you can meet when you are outgoing and put yourself out there. One of the men vacations in France once a year and we reminisced about Paris and other regions of the country we enjoy. How refreshing to meet other well-traveled and interesting people!

I look forward to continuing my journey in life through words and photographs. Thanks for listening, dear readers. For more insight related to my job as a children's librarian, please view my other blog devoted to all things library: The Life and Times of a Libran Librarian.


CynthiaDiana said...

I am so envious of your ability to just "GO"! I think the older I get the more introverted I become and just the thought of having to branch out and meet new people makes me want to have an anxiety attack! In the city, you can pretend to know the people that live around you. It's easy to get around, but in the "country" where nature is all around and there are no buildings and street signs... I think I would panic! Kudos to you! I wish I could be more like you Evan! Congrats to you as you embark on this new adventure!

Evan said...

Thanks Cynthia! It is new journey, that's for sure. I'm taking advantage of the quiet months before the boyfriend and dogs get here.