Linking up with Amanda today to do a little thinking out loud.
Every year when I was a little kid, my family and I would take a car trip to Rocky Mountain National Park at Spring Break. We’d stay at the YMCA near Estes Park and spend the week “hiking” (the short distance I was willing to hike on my little kid legs), roller skating, going on guided horseback rides, and my absolute very most favorite, climbing on rocks. I loved climbing on rocks. That and standing on bridges and watching the water in the stream.
It didn’t take a lot to make me happy when I was a kid. Rocks and streams. Sometimes I miss how easy it was to be happy.
Adulting is hard sometimes.
But anyway, my memories of our Colorado trips are, for the most part, happy. I remember we could check out games like Yahtzee and Battleship to play at our cabin, and the giant stuffed elk heads above the fireplaces at the lodge that kind of scared me. I remember one year when it snowed four feet, and I wasn’t much taller than four feet myself, and so the snow along the roadsides where they’d plowed was all the way above my head. And what I remember above all was the enormity of the mountains. For a little girl from Kansas, driving though the canyons toward the Continental Divide was otherworldly. (Absolutely no Oz jokes aloud, y’all hear?)
I also remember the time my dad broke his back in a skiing accident. So not all happy memories. But I remember the good ones better than the icky ones.
When I moved to Fort Collins, CO for grad school, I knew I was only about 40 miles from Estes (actually even shorter, as the crow flies, but you can’t go as the crow flies because there’s mountains in the way.) I never got up there, though, I suppose partly because it seemed a little odd to go by myself.
Don’t get me wrong–it’s not that I’m unwilling to do things by myself–but sometimes I feel, when I visit a place on my ownsome, like it’s not real or it doesn’t count or something. There’s a line in a song I like by Jeff Black about needing “a witness to be happy,” and I think of that line often when I go adventuring by myself. It’s dumb of course, but sometimes if I’ve had a really cool experience but no one else has “witnessed it,” I feel as though it never really happened. Weird, huh?
That’s changing a little bit, especially now that I’m getting more and more used to living on my own. (Friday night at home alone with a book and chocolate? Bring it on!)
Still, I was pleased when the Mad Bad Mommy Bommy volunteered to come visit me in Fort Collins for a couple of days this weekend before classes started.
It was cold!–thank goodness Mom packed a pair of Cuddlduds (moms are always prepared for these kinds of things)–but it was amazing how familiar the trail from the Y camp up to Moraine Park was. I haven’t been there in–I don’t know–12 to 15 years, and parts of it were like I’d never seen them before, but I still remember certain things, like how much I loved the texture of the winding trail.
Also, it’s nice to have someone around who gets the reference when you start singing bizarre songs from your childhood.
Is there a special place from your childhood you hope to return to someday?