29 December 2007

Rocky Mountain Brilliance

Hoar frost on top of river ice

The other day I was talking to my bother-in-law (no, that's not a typo). I was exclaiming about how bright it is outside. He looked at me as if I was daft. "It's snowing out" he said "and it's cloudy. There's no sun." And he was absolutely correct. When it's overcast and snowing out here it is sooooo much brighter then anything we've seen in a long while in the latitudes north of 60 degrees even when the sun is out in full force. I was forced to wear sunglasses on cloudy days initially because my eyes could not adjust to the beautiful brightness. When people ask me why I'm hear I tell them it's to replenish my Vitamin D and I'm not entirely joking. It's brilliant here when the sun is out and high in the sky reflecting off the powdered sugar light snow. It's such a gift, all this daylight, all this time to get out and play under wide skies when I get bogged down by job applications and need a break.

It's interesting to me, having grown up in this valley, how I seem to have lost it's topography. I once knew it's trails and secrets intimately. If someone suggested a place to hike or ski I could imagine it's slope, the trail head, the creek's that flowed past it, whether the snow stayed late or melted early. Now when people mention these names I can no longer remember how to get there or any of the other details. It saddens me. I have been so many places and explored so many places since I left that those I grew up with are no longer so definitive in my mind and yet the spirit of them remains. So many of the open places have gone, vanished beneath urban sprawl. It seems that every subdivision is named after the species of wildlife it displaced: Elk Run, Coyote Lane, Cougar Hollow, Springing Deer. There are new trails through the pasture lands and the golf courses, rails to trails, new-old places to explore.


  1. The valley? Which Valley?? Is it the RFV? Tell me!!! Because that's where I plan to be in Feb!

  2. I definitely haven't lived as many places as you have, but I know the feeling of returning to someplace I once considered home only to find it both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. It is a little sad, but I prefer to think of it this way: I may no longer have a single "home city" with which I'm intimately familiar, but now I have many home cities which are each special to me in its own way.

  3. I know that feeling all too well. I wish there was a name for it.

  4. oh look at it! I love love Colorado!

  5. Progress (and I use the word loosely) often destroys memory. Have fun re-familiarizing yourself.

  6. Lovely post. I remember visiting my childhood open after a long absence and being amazed at how big the trees had become. (duh)and how small my house appeared to be.
    Glad you landed safely.

  7. liv, emailing you the details.

    mad hatter, well I look at it that way too but sometimes it's a little bittersweet.

    maypole, it certainly can. I'm looking forward to it.

    qt, I think there is just not in english. Maybe we should invent one.

    flutter, it sure is gorgeous isn't it?

    ms chica, yes, I suppose so, or it warps it, mutates it, until it is more of an abstraction of what was rather then the concrete.

    doris rose, isn't it funny how that happens? My home town grew 500% between the last two population censuses so there are a lot of things that weren't there before!


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