After completing the greenhouse with Mom, I took an afternoon to hike up to Gem Lake with Rita–my newest globetrotting friend.
Me and Rita ready to run some trails
Rita’s from Russia, but has lived in Estes Park, CO for the past seven years. We mastered the 3.3 mile (roundtrip) hike in record time, snapping pictures of the town (and each other) for a grand total of an hour and a half .
Conquer, then flex
Gem Lake Trail view
After a short break at the top I gave Rita a couple tips about social marketing. Not the most common trail conversation, albeit one of the most important for those looking to work abroad. Its been a wonderful discovery process for me, as well. After being on the road for the past 7 years I’m always eager (sometimes overly eager) to share my secrets about how I manage to continually travel for work and keep the heart of my social life beating. Its definitely hard work, I’ll admit, but worth the efforts to maintain friendships and keep in contact with everyone I meet from all over the world. Heck, even a postcard–or two–to drop a little personal note to those close to you…..or a SnapChat; cell service is nil in these parts, so WiFi is key.
After finishing up the greenhouse, back in Glen Haven, I repacked my suitcase and got that familiar sad feeling in my heart. The one I get when I know its time to leave my Mom’s place, once again. I scheduled my transportation with the Estes Park Shuttle and set my alarm for “crack-of-dawn”.
Back on the winding road down the canyon; off to Tulsa!
I’m at that shampoo-rinse-repeat moment again as I go thru the motions to set myself back into work mode. I’m never excited to leave, but am extremely excited for what the future holds in the next few weeks. Tulsa, El Paso, Roswell, New Orleans…Hasta luego!
There’s not much that doesn’t make me happy about being out of cell range for a few days. Although WiFi is still available out here, I get to turn my phone from communication device-to-camera (and dimension calculator), while I’m outside the modem’s reach. Mom asked me to help her complete her greenhouse during my visit, and I was more than a little excited–mostly because I got to use power tools.
Artistry, creativity and the accomplishment is extremely rewarding, especially in the form of carpentry and architecture. Even though its slightly dangerous to sling around a six-foot-long 2×4 (along with staple guns, power saws, and drill bits) I recognize that every form of art creation is slightly dangerous. This ties into the madness inside of us all. The want and intense desire to create something that we can use, feel, love, lust over–whatever–no matter how physically taxing. We are consistently building our world one piece at a time; and I don’t throw that statement around casually.
Apparently I only have two forms of wardrobe: Business and Yoga
Essentially, while placing a 1/2″ drill bit next to my index finger (cautiously and consciously) I was able to focus on the future reward of the completed project. The literal fruit (and vegetables) of our labor should be proof that our desire to create overshadows our fear of the danger of creation.
Ahhh, therapy in every form.
“What are those purple flowers growing on the side of the mountain, Mom?”
“Those are called Fireweed…because they’re the first to bloom after a fire”
It’s a chilling reminder of the power of nature. In the past couple years, in the tiny mountain town of Glen Haven Colorado, they’ve seen several fires and devastating floods. My mom and her husband Bob have actually rescued many people from said situations during their on-call position as volunteer firefighters. In fact last September, when the worst flood of them all hit the base of the Rocky Mountains, they lived without power for 3 months and remained in their house to continue to honor their jobs as rescue workers. Folks always ask me if I get anxiety over the fact that my mom is running into forest fires or hiking over mountains in the frigid cold. After all the woman is in her early 50s (she will scoff that I just revealed that), and weighing in at 95lbs on a five-foot-two frame. But I tell them, she’s a survivor. A hero. My hero.
I try to make it up to CO for a visit a couple times a year. This will mark the first time I’ve traveled here since before the floods.
To the unknowing visitor the town seems like a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kinda place since half of the houses that once lined the canyon have—sadly—been replaced with a rocky embankment, flanked by the North Fork River. The road crews have cleared most of the rubble, laid new dirt roads and put up concrete barriers to keep tourists on the curvy path towards Rocky Mountain Natl’ Park.
As I watched the rock, fallen trees, and asphalt trucks from the backseat window I tried not to focus on the devastation—nor the sadness of it all—but the survival of life. Its proof that we (those of us who adapt, replant, clean up or persevere over tragedy) can still manage to move on with our lives. Granted, we can still dwell on the disappointments and allow contention to hold us against our will; but why? Even on an average day with no real tragedy beside traffic, spilled coffee, or a flat tire once we’re out of the moment we continue to breathe normally; life goes on.
I thought about how much I truly respected the ability of life to regrow on a mountainside; without anyone’s permission or blessings the Fireweed are back, again. After being plowed over, demolished, or burned out of its respective home, life will always reemerge. Beautiful, wild, colorful….grateful for life.