So two summers ago (2010) I took a road trip with my teenaged daughter. She has special needs (more on that later) and was headed to a week-long camp devoted just to kids with her disorder. She had never been to camp before, and always wanted to go, but part of the deal with the camp was that she had to be accompanied by a parent. Okay, I thought…I’ll go to camp in Portland, Oregon for a week. We built a cross-country road trip into the deal and set off on July 3, returning just before August. We drove through Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming (again), Nebraska and Iowa before returning home.
I had never seen this part of the country before. I was expecting to be completely overwhelmed by the ocean, having only seen the Gulf of Mexico before, and was focused almost entirely on that part of the trip. But along the way, I found myself utterly awed by the vast expanses of prairie in South Dakota, the quiet wildness of Montana, and the surprising ruggedness of Idaho. The ocean, which we saw in its gorgeous splendor along Highway 101, was achingly beautiful, but all the time I was at the ocean, I longed to see the mountains again. To be in the cool mountain air, to be in sunshine and wind, to be able to look for miles and not see any signs of mankind, to be closer to God.
I felt like I had found the one place on earth where I could breathe. There was finally enough space between me and the rest of the people on earth to render me tolerable to my fellow man. I can handle people in small doses, and large groups of people make me uncomfortable–like someone has dripped jelly down the back of my neck and ants are crawling all over me. Finally, in the mountains, I saw only space and beauty, majesty and purity. No taint of human vices, no evidence of our excesses and failings. Only the overwhelming sense that Nature–and her Creator–are central, elevated above man.
John Muir, the great revolutionary naturalist, found God in Nature, and went to the “cathedral of the forest” for communion with God. Just driving through the mountains that summer, I felt at peace, in constant wonderment at God’s creation, a very tangible sense that *this* is where life was found.
And it is because of this trip that my husband and I are determined to make our new, post-child-rearing lives in Colorado. Because I got a bee in my bonnet about living in the mountains, and because he so graciously and tenderly agreed to accompany me on this enormous undertaking, we have set our sights on Colorado (more about the winnowing process later). In October of this year, we have a trip to Boulder/Fort Collins planned, and at that time, we’ll have a better idea of what we think of that area in particular.
We don’t expect to settle down or retire in Colorado, but on August 31, 2013, we plan to take a very small portion of our belongings and make a very small home for ourselves at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. With this blog, we’re taking you along for the ride. All the bumps and turns in the road, all the roadblocks and detours that the next two years will hold we’ll catalog for you here. I hope we’ll do so in an entertaining way, or maybe thought-provoking.
But whatever we do, we’re doing it together.