It's 8:00 PM here in Vail, Colorado and I just got the following email from the owner/operator of ChicagoNow.com:
Welcome to ChicagoNow's Blogapalooz-Hour!
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to publish a post in one hour. Here is tonight's challenge:
'Write about something you find beautiful that you feel others may not understand'"
So, I'm thinking to myself, "What the heck do I find so beautiful that I can write about?"
It's been said that I have a unique way of looking at the world, although it isn't usually said so politely. It follows that most people won't see beauty where I find it, so that should leave me with a target rich universe of things that others may not understand.
And then it hit me: It's the mountains, dummy. It's why I'm out here.
John Denver's, Rocky Mountain High is on all of my playlists. When it comes on, I always turn it up as loud as circumstances will allow. I find it mesmerizing.
If possible, I stop whatever I'm doing and just listen. If I happen to be in the mountains at the time, it's a double bonus. I, too would be a poorer man if I never saw an eagle fly.
In all the time I've been skiing Vail Mountain-over 30 years-there hasn't been a time that I looked out from the top and wasn't struck by the beauty and sheer vastness of the expanse.
What people don't understand is that there are two parts to skiing in the Rocky Mountains. One is the skiing itself. That is an exhilaration that simply can't be understood by anyone who hasn't experienced it.
Skiing is a very personal thing. Even if you're skiing with other people, as you careen down the hill, you are alone. It is just you and the mountain. You can push your body and your fears as hard as you want. You can strive for greatness, though few will achieve it.
And you can do all that on each and every run.
Part two of the skiing experience can even be enjoyed in the summer, when the mountains are green with grass and speckled with wild flowers. It is the pure beauty and elegance of the mountains themselves.
People are out there on the hill doing their thing, whether it's skiing, snowboarding or snow biking, enjoying the thrill of gravity pulling them inexorably toward the bottom. Some may appreciate the beauty of nature, some may not.
Sometimes when you're heading down the hill, you pass people heading up the hill, snow shoeing, hiking, skinning. Some of them are out there for the exercise, but most seem at least somewhat inspired by their surroundings.
It's probably for the best that not everyone finds rapture in the mountains. There's already too many people out here.
If you follow this space, you know that I am a bit of an atheist. More than a bit, actually.
I have no problem, though believing in the splendor of nature. Some people worry about how many breaths they will take in their lifetime. I'm more concerned about finding moments that will take my breath away.
Nothing in my experience is as breathtaking and majestic as the Rocky Mountains and the myriad opportunities they offer to enjoy them. It's a bit sad for those who don't get it.
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