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The Mountains (Part 1 of…) 15 November 2009

Posted by magicdufflepud in Uncategorized.
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You’ve read the introduction, so now it becomes a thing of where to begin in earnest. How about the mountains? This is Colorado after all, and Summit County at that, so I’ll start there, where the Rockies’ Front Range rises in front of Denver like a… like a wave about to crash over a sandcastle. Even Denver’s tallest buildings look inconsequential, absurd even, against those mountains.

Arriving from the east coast or the midwest, nothing prepares you for the sight. The idea that “mountains are big” remains filed somewhere with the recesses of the mind, in that same academic way that you might recall that more than a billion people live in China. The immensity of the thing prevents comprehension until it’s Right There. You hit the reset button on your sense of scale. Man is not the measure of all things here in Colorado. The mountains are. They define this place.

But if they’re the definition, it’s almost a sad irony that I’ve so quickly run out of words to describe them. At 13,000 feet on Loveland Pass last weekend, I realized I’d plumbed the depths of my vocabulary. Awesome seemed to fit. But so did “totally rad” and “this is ridiculous” and “I can’t believe we live here” and, well, all of that. Pulchritudinous came to mind, too, but that sounded pedantic. As always, expressing the thought in French gave the same idea just a little more through sheer simplicity. So… “Les montagnes et la neige. Ici, c’est jolie.”

At any rate, I can’t help but linger in bed every morning watching the alpenglow recede from the peaks down the valley from my apartment complex. Between the angle of the sun and quality of the morning air, that golden glow hangs there, honey drizzled on the snowcaps. Maybe that counts for something more than words.

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