With the best of intentions, I carried my I Pad and a portable keyboard to Colorado.
I intended to blog. I did not.
Sometimes it is best just to marinate in the moments. That is what I did.
My sister in law, Marietta, is twice represented in our family circle. She married my brother Paul, and her brother Larry married my youngest sister, Marie. She and Paul have owned a condo in Colorado for years, and they are all sportastic.
This year, she decided to migrate to Frisco, Colorado for an extended summer break. Her son was on leave from West Point, and he was hankering to park himself in neutral for awhile. So they loaded up the car, and headed West. When he and Paul had to return to their respective realities, Marietta stayed on to enjoy some peace, quiet and the great outdoors. Of course, the Joliat sisters could not allow Marietta to meditate. We crashed her cocoon like a gaggle of geese. She will probably regret forever that she extended an invitation.Or did we invite ourselves? I forget.
The four of us converged from homes in Detroit and Chicago and Marietta swooped into the Denver airport and carted us to her getaway. The redundancy of our oohs and aaahs as we admired the mountains and the clear blue skies probably forewarned her that peace was a commodity that she would not experience for 6 days. If she was sad, she was too good a sport to let on.
We shopped a little, ate a lot, walked here and there, and were chauffeured all over the resort areas west of Denver. We hit Vail, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek. Marietta even corkscrewed us up to the Continental Divide. It made us feel like flabs to pass spandex encased bikers assaulting the peaks. At almost 12,000 feet above sea level, a biker we had lapped 20 minutes before made it to the top. We were taking pictures and just trying to breathe the thinner air on our first day. If he was winded, he did not let on. He dismounted, pulled on some spandex sleeves, chugged on some water and took in the view. I asked if he was just going to turn around and head down, and he assured me that this was precisely his plan. Dark was approaching, but he said the fun part was trying to beat it to the base. Mercy.
So now I have been to Colorado twice- both times in the Summer.In 40 years it has sprawled, with cedar and alpine villages giving way to chateaus and estates. It is breathtakingly beautiful and throbs with healthy people who respect the beauty they live in. Even the dogs are respectful, often walking dutifully off leash. There are waste stations everywhere with pull down bags and disposal sites. I did not see one irresponsible pet owner- come to think of it, I did not see any litter.
I never had any problems with altitude sickness, and I claim it is because I have the body mass required to keep my heart pumping just to deliver blood to my nether parts. (My skinny ninny sister Jennifer was not so fortunate. Despite taking medication, she was out of commission for most of the trip. On the last day, armed with 2 bowls of soup and 1/2 of a quesadilla spread over 4 days, we dragged her to Vail for the day. She was a soldier, but never felt well until she touched terra firma in Detroit)
I had a whiplash of reality there, though. I will never ski, never hike a challenging hill, never bike the trails- even if they are downhill. My parts have worn out. My new knee is wobbling wildly. A failure. (More later, I need advice about this) The active part of my life has shifted into a lower gear.
Fortunately, Marietta anticipated this and made us knit kits. She patiently instructed us in a form of recreation that we could all do, albeit with varying degrees of success. I have assaulted my yarn with the enthusiasm a skier would bring to a hill. Or mountain. I have almost…almost…completed a washcloth. Sure, it has some random holes and is misshapen. Sure, I forgot to flip from knit to purl and ended up with rows of random designs. But I did it, damn it. If only I could have brought Marietta home with me, I could cast off with confidence. But cast off, I will. Because the future for me resides in spectator sports. I think I might be able to knit and absorb a baseball game. I may be gimpy, but I can multitask.
In the evenings, we took in the Olympics, loved the pageantry, celebrated youth and all its possibilities. We also knit and yammered. The yammering would be a Joliat strong suit, according to Steve. I hated to go to bed, because I knew that what I was experiencing was too precious to take for granted. Love, family, beauty, acceptance and wonderment…..I can live without hurtling downhill.
We were up at 5:00 am on Monday to get to the airport in time. We saw the sun inch over the mountains, and we absorbed some Rocky Mountain glimmer before heading East. Ever stalwart, Marietta headed down the mountain with her gabby cargo. As we paused to look across Lake Dillon for a glimpse of where we had been, police lights caught our eye. A giant black bear lay on the edge of the highway. Police and Park Service employees hovered. I convinced myself he was sleeping, tranquilized. I do not think I am ready to dominate the Wild Wild West.
But thanks to Marietta, (and Paul) I was welcome to inhabit its beauty. It was perfect.