Waterton Canyon Road: Photo by Noelle
Before dawn: Photo by Noelle
Anticipation builds as you climb the hill and near the crest or travel the road that comes to a bend. You could come this way a dozen times and you never lose the sense of magic at what lies around the corner or over the hill. It is as ingrained in our spirit as the breath of life itself. We are meant to explore, discover and ponder this Universe we were given. We are all adventurers, though some of us have fallen asleep in the field. Comfy we’ve become that we are more like a cat in a sunny window, even when the sun has diminished and the earth has grown cold.
Wake up, wake up, you sleepy head! Do not linger in this spot for too long. There is more of Magellan in your belly than the sitting hen, you oft convince yourself you’ve become. Listen closely. Do you not hear it? The trail calls just over the hill. Just over the hill and around the next bend.
I came to Colorado for the Rockies rising powerfully off the prairie and capped in white much of the year. I love to hike as well as sit listening to wildlife moving amongst the trees or along cliff ledges. Thus, I often hike alone. Curiously, though, as the years have passed it’s the prairie that draws me most. I love the openness and the huge skies. Rolling vistas, beautiful grasses and skeletal tumble weeds. I can meditate for sometime on the waves of tall grasses moving as a great ocean to prairie winds. Driving along an interstate or passing a field you know well on your way to work can leave you thinking its all the same. Nothing new there. You have to spend time in fields and prairie land to discover their subtler beauty. Mountains are easy. They’re grand and spectacular in their sweeping majesty. They are beauty without effort and I’ve discovered, as a result, there’s no effort from me in that. No growth. No push in my vision to see more. The prairie pushes my understanding of what beauty is. It asks me to work for it. It demands I look more closely.
Prickly Pear at Bear Creek Lake: Photo by Noelle
Old limb: Photo by Noelle
Little lights dot the slopes in the crevasses of rocky crags and the meetings of hillsides. I see them winking on the edges of prairie grasses or from a thin strip of spring ice. So small a thing yet it holds me fast on the trail. I will change positions, lie in mud, and contort myself ridiculously to capture even a wisp of it. Mindfulness at its best. Who doesn’t love a sweeping landscape and my camera is full of those, too, but the little lights demand my full attention. They don’t come obviously or easily. Flickers on baby’s breath and shafts seeming to eminate outward from an inner source I can’t see. Prairie land in particular is full of such light. In all that rolling sameness are small plants acting as beggars to a regal sun.