Slung between the great Rocky Mountains and their racing
cousin (Pike’s Peak, the first barrier met by waves of humanity pouring west
over vast plains three generations ago) is a shallow valley 1.7 miles closer to
the sun than the sea.
…A majestic place where molten minerals burst through
bedrock clefts; hissing at the cool moist atmosphere that hushed it into
eternal stillness long, long ago.
Grasses grew… Roots of conifers reached deep to support
their grandeur… Flowers coaxed bees to hum and birds to sing… Creatures majestic and diminutive raised
endless generations of young.
From then until now, morning’s breezes whisper between
trees; pushing playful wooly clouds that peekaboo with the over-bright sun and
a sky too blue for any artist’s pallet of paints. If it pleases, a gusty
afternoon will twist fiercely with unprecedented rage into boiling leaden
clouds that bullet hail before blessing the thirsty land with nurturing rain or
a light blanket of snow.
Each day, between the splendor and awe of the rising and
setting sun, a thermometer may soar and fall four or five times the temperature
range felt on the beautiful hills of my gran-cestors on the verge of Wales in English
Charcoal hues of volcanic soil encourage meadows of high-country
flowers from seed born on wind and wildlife into the ancient caldera for a
parade of color as grazers mow, nest are filled and fledged, and fawns outgrown
their dappled coats.
Protective northern ramparts of gold-rich pink granite peaks
stand between this high valley and bullying winter storms, granting entry to only
a dusting of feather-light flakes. Seldom mounting to more than a hand’s height
of drifting crystalline water; never enough snow to sled, only occasionally
enough to plow, soon running from the nearness of the sun.
But that is winter and this is the cusp of summer. Greening
meadows are garnished with festive, fairy-shaped wildflowers. Witnessing
evergreen boughs droop with cone buds and song birds in courtship colors.
Aspens cover their pale smooth limbs with clapping lime green coin-shaped
leaves. And the sky…
…the liquid sapphire expanse delineating vistas, drawing my
eye from the pen at the end of my reach into eternity. I can never, never get
enough of the too blue sky.