Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sun, Sept 28, 2008: Tatanka: What Is It, Who Was There, and Are You Married?

In order to explain Tatanka, I first should start off by explaining where I stand with the online dating scene, since I brought it up a while back. When I first joined the website I went out with the first guy who messaged me the first day that I created my page, and after seeing each other a few more times we decided to just keep seeing each other and not other people. Over the course of about a month, I realized that this is exactly the pattern in my life that I want to break: going out with the first guy who shows interest in me. I got to the point where I started wondering who else I was missing out on out there. The realization that I had fallen into my old pattern again served as a wake-up call to the other things that just weren't in place for me with him; namely that I shared many of his interests but he shared only a few of mine. I love to think about people, life, and the universe beyond us, spirituality and religions, art and science, and the fact that I have such a broad range of interests seems to make it difficult for me to find people who share a good number of them. I don't think that people in relationships need to have every interest in common, but I have always imagined my other half as being someone with whom I could be stranded on a deserted island and never run out of things to talk about.

So, all of this is my very long way of explaining that I was able to admit to myself that what I should be doing right now is looking for friends. I changed my status to "looking for friends", profile updated, done deal. Now I can just have fun and learn about people (including myself!) without all that other "stuff" in the way. Right now I have way too much to figure out, put together, and fix within myself to drag anybody into that process with me. Someday when I'm ready, I'll put all that stuff back in the way. :)

Back to Tatanka: Tatanka is a music festival in its first year of existance that was put together by friends of a guy who I met online. He invited me to go up with him, so we spent the day hanging out by Boulder Reservoir and listening to fun bands. I got to see some famous people: one of the Neville brothers (whose music I don't know), the singer from Big Head Todd and the Monsters (whose music I do know... somewhat), and a few people from random jam bands that I used to listen to in college. The festival was really, really low key - there weren't a whole lot of people there and security was very lax. We actually walked around backstage without being questioned by anybody, and didn't realize we were backstage at all until we walked out onto the beach where the festival was held.

The day was relaxing and fun, with a few hilarious moments involving the woman seated next to us. During an accoustic set, we set up a backgammon game (which I haven't played since I was like 6!) and I was getting a good refresher course on how to play. The woman walked up to us and said "Are you married?"

We looked at each other and there was a moment of "Uhhh..." hanging in the air. Then I answered that we actually just met each other for the first time today. She said, "But you look so set up here!" (we later joked about the fact that apparently unmarried people are unable to plan something together). She asked how old we were and, as usual, told me that I looked 18. She left and we laughed about the incident, until she randomly returned to talk about the numerological significance of the number 28. She asked me if I am enjoying 28 (yes, I am very much), and shared that she had her first child at 28 (not a very nice thing to share with a single 28 year old woman who wants children). For me, 28 has become my year of self, which is wonderful but very different than what I thought it would mean as a child.

She returned one more time later in the evening, and held her daughter in front of us. "Are you ready for one of these? Look at what you could have 9 years from now", she said. After she left we had another "Uhhh...." moment, after which we speculated about the condition of her memory and the fact that she obviously didn't remember us saying that we just met today. Her interactions with us were probably among the strangest things I have ever experienced with someone who I just met.

So that was yesterday. Today I wanted to go on a road trip that I've had mapped out since this summer but haven't been able to undertake yet. Due to lack of funding and gas, I am unable to take the journey today and must admit that I'm sitting around pouting about it a little bit. Being restricted is very difficult for me to deal with. On the bright side, belly dance lessons start on Tuesday and I get my first real paycheck on Wednesday. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mon, Sept 22, 2008: Equinox High

My friends in high school used to have a joke that we were high on "life". I'm not sure where this came from or why we thought it was so funny but it was a fairly long-lived joke, especially when delivered in conjunction with air quotes.

I was just sitting here thinking about my life lately and the phrase "high on life" popped into my head, because it's probably the most accurate way to describe the way I feel. For the first time in at least a year, I am effortlessly in love with my life and with a lot of the things going on inside of me.

How can one even begin attempting to encapsulate a year's worth of unrelenting challenges and triumphs, and the learning process that accompanied each experience? When people ask me how I've changed as a result of my experiences in Colorado, I just tell them to read my blog and then they will have the tiniest glimmer of an idea of what my time here has given me.

My feelings of comfort and trust in the universe are starting to become very powerful, and are taking me over in wonderful ways. It's very liberating to experience life without fear. I don't think I've ever realized how much fear I've always carried around with me: fear of losing my job, of not finding the right guy, of making the wrong choices. For the first time I feel like I am living life through what feels right to me, instead of trying to guess what I can do to avoid making my fears coming true. Letting go and trusting something special inside of me has taken me higher than anything I've experienced in my life, and it seems to me that's how it should be.

I think this is just the beginning for me, and if it feels this good already then I can't wait to see what it feels like when it's turned on full force.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sat, Sept 20, 2008: Dillon, Meeker, and Flat Tops Wilderness

Happy Sunday. :) I love weekends.

Yesterday I met up with a friend for lunch up in Dillon, which is right next to Silverthorne and fairly close to Green Mountain Reservoir which I have written about several times. We ate and then strolled around Dillon Reservoir, chatting while we watched the colorful boats skimming over its surface.

I love when I have the opportunity to learn about a place out here from someone who has lived there for a while. He told me all kinds of neat things about the area:
- Originally the town was located where the lake was created and when the water gets low you can sometimes see the steeple of the old church. I mentioned that it would be cool to go scuba diving and explore the town, but he said they don't let people in the water because it's too cold.
- Keystone (a ski area up there where he works) covers 3 mountain peaks.
- The road across the dam was closed for a time because someone decided that terrorists were going to blow it up. (I actually drove by it this summer when it was closed during my trip over Boreas Pass! I figured it was due to construction). Eventually they opened the road back up but erected a buoy barricade around the base of the dam. There is also at least one cop stationed near the dam at all times for surveillance.
- In the winter, people windsurf across the lake on skis.I left early in the afternoon fully intending to go home, but since I was already an hour deep into the mountains and on the other side of the continental divide I decided I needed to go somewhere.

(By the way, if you're wondering why terrorists would bother blowing up the dam if the water is on the wrong side of the continental divide from Denver, I learned that the water is actually sent through pipes under the continental divide. My guess is that it creates Clear Creek, which runs alongside I-70 most of the way from the tunnel to Golden. Clear Creek is the pretty little creek that my friends were too chicken to go tubing in. :) So I suppose that means if terrorists blow up the dam, my town is the first to go!).

I decided to head to Meeker, the little town where I received my first internship job offer but quickly turned it down when I learned how far it is from Denver. The drive up from Rifle was filled with interesting rock ridges and formations.
The rocks in certain places formed a spine running over the top of the hill they created, resembling a stegosaurus. This area of Colorado seems to have undergone different transformations than the rest of the state; it was neat to see shelves of rock standing almost perpendicular to the direction in which they once lay, and to imagine the changes that made them stand up so strangely. There were also power lines everywhere, interrupting the interesting beauty of the land.

The town of Meeker seemed somewhat similar to the town where I currently work in terms of income, but very different in terms of town culture. There were farm fields everywhere, with a beautiful deep blue river snaking through them. The land was made of low, rolling sagebrush-covered hills and the fields were ripe with bright green grass. The land was so lush that for a moment I felt like I was back in central Massachusetts.
Most of the water that I encounter out here seems to be a steely gray color, but the river that I met yesterday was a deep, bright blue. It flowed beside me for most of my drive through the Flat Tops and seemed to be the reason why this area is so beautiful and fertile.It's a bit early for autumn colors and I'm guessing that next weekend might be the peak for a lot of areas in the mountains; however, the ground brush seems to change sooner than the aspens. Aspens out here are different than those in Connecticut, because when standing in groups they usually have very few lower branches. They almost remind me of rainforest trees, with long uninterrupted trunks ending in a little canopy of leaves at the top. This is the reason why wildflowers and bushes are able to thrive beneath a stand of aspens, because they allow plenty of sunlight to penetrate through their leaves. The special light that happens only when you're standing among them is caused in part by this as well.

During my drive in the lower areas outside of Meeker, I was able to see the ground alight with the orange and red leaves of bushes and stunted trees through the straight white trunks of the aspens.
The road left the rich fields and blue river and began to ascend into the hills, climbing toward the pass. The higher I climbed, the more beautiful the aspens became. At first, it was the bright colors of other plants that stood out...
...but then the aspens themselves stole the show.
There was a storm rolling in at this point and the sun was not very bright, but I found myself unable to stop smiling as I passed through a world of golds and oranges. As was the case last year, the brightness of the leaves made up for what the sun was unable to give me. (Apparently autumn is rainy season, or at least right around equinox is).

During my drive, I passed a herd of free-range cattle standing in the middle of the road - an event which I have come to think of as completely normal out here. Shortly after I passed the cows, I came upon a cowboy driving a herd of horses down the road. This was somewhat intense as the horses were running pretty fast and refused to pick one side of the road to stay on. While this was the first time I've seen a large number of loose horses, it was a neat sight to see and was very fun to "run" with them for a time down the road.

Apparently the horses and cows weren't enough animal strangeness for one day. While driving up the pass, I encountered a massive white dog laying across the middle of the road. It ran up to my car and began lunging at my wheels. I couldn't figure out what it thought it was doing until I rounded the corner and saw the largest flock of sheep I have ever laid eyes on in my life. This picture shows maybe 1/4 of the flock:The dog was joined by an identical twin companion, and they flanked my front wheels as I made my way through the woolly ocean of animals. Both dogs continued to lunge toward my wheels, which I interpreted as their signal to slow down, but I eventually decided to ignore them as I was going all of 5mph and wanted to get through the flock some time before dark.

The Flat Tops Wilderness was amazing, and I think there were more aspens in that area than in Aspen! I may head back there next weekend to see if I can catch the trees in the river valley in their autumn best.

I think one of the things I wish most right now is that I could somehow instantly teleport both myself and Philippe to any place that I have already traveled. I am really excited about exploring the northwest corner of the state and continually feel myself drawn to take trips up there. It would be so wonderful to be able to just appear there and begin my travels, instead of arriving with a 4-5 hour drive already behind me. I suppose that's what camping/sleeping in the car/motel rooms are for....

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mon, Sept 15, 2008: Big Little Spirit

Tonight I was supposed to go out for ice cream but was canceled on by a friend who was wiped out from work. Understandable, but disappointing as I've been dreaming about delicious ice cream all day. It surprised me how sad I felt that our plans were canceled, and I realized that I haven't been in many situations lately in which I have felt completely let down... and that made me feel pretty good about my life and the people in it. :)

I have a new rune set that I bought at the metaphysical fair, and I love the stones. Two women created their own runes and stamped them onto ocean rocks which feel full and alive between my fingertips. I pulled a stone asking what I can do to help myself stop being so sad. Its message was creativity, and it asked me to examine the blocks that are keeping me from expressing my inner self to the world. All I could think of is myself as a little girl: I miss kissing rocks, dirt under my fingernails, chopping up plants and making exotic mixtures, swinging from grapevines, dresses, screaming at the top of my lungs, running in weeds up to my waist, long hair, singing to the trees, green fingers and dirty feet.... All of it was so delicious and real and spontaneous, coming straight out of the heart of me and manifesting itself into the world. I miss living like that.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sun, Sept 14, 2008: A Few Hours of Freedom and Beauty

Mmmm freedom and beauty. :)

Before I headed up for a short drive into the hills west of Golden (and by short I mean 2 1/2 hours), I took this picture from a hill above my little town. I realized that I haven't really shown it to you yet!This picture is looking north up the canyon. On the left is Lookout Mountain, which is kind of a famous eyesore. Just to the left of the first table mesa are the Flatirons up in Boulder, and the table mesas are the two weird looking formations on the right! Nestled in the little valley is the majority of the town.

My drive was beautiful, all lavender and pink with a massive full moon just rising over the mountains.


The edges of the aspens are just starting to turn yellow, and the little ground plants have already donned their autumn oranges and maroons. I can't wait to get up into the mountains again to see how things have changed.

Tonight I felt lulled by the colors, the bends in the road, and the delicious spicy smell in the air whose source I have yet to identify. I truly felt like I was at home tonight, and though there are many things I miss about New England there are many I would miss about Colorado: curvy roads and mountain views, colors in unexpected places, peaceful little ponds with steam rising from their surfaces, the powerful and refreshing feeling of the land... many more things that I could describe, and probably some things that make themselves known inside of me but of which I am presently unaware.

I haven't felt this good in a long time.

Sun, Sept 14, 2008: Movie Marathon Weekend

This weekend I watched 6 movies, as well as every online episode of The Office and Heroes. Why would one do such a thing?

I have been sick since Thursday night, and for the first time all weekend am blissfully pain free. I ate a sandwich a couple of hours ago and it felt like the best thing I've ever eaten in my life. It's amazing what not eating for 2.5 days can do for your appetite. (Actually, it was a pretty amazing sandwich. Turkey and sharp cheddar sliced from a block, on a roll, the whole thing toasted in the oven. Mmmmm).

I was in so much pain it frightened me, and was afraid that I would end up having to call an ambulance to pick me up. It was strange having my solitude reinforced in such a physical way, but this weekend definitely did that for me. I couldn't ask anyone for a drink of water, or to microwave my heating pillow, or to hug me because I was scared. One day I was in so much pain I was afraid I had appendicitis, and was trying to imagine what it would be like to go through surgery and wake up to find no one was there to be with me. These are the things you don't think about when you pack up your belongings and move away from everyone and everything you know; at least, I didn't.

I suppose this is the part where I talk about how everything I go through out here makes me grow exponentially as a person, that things make me stronger and more independent, and that it feels wonderful to know that I really can rely on myself... and all of that is true. But sometimes I miss the luxury of having someone around to take care of me when I really need it.

The moral of this story is: when you start feeling sick, make sure you bring your microwave and Brita pitcher into your bedroom. Now I'm off for a bit to enjoy these blessedly pain-free final hours of sunlight that this weekend is offering me.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sun, Sept 7, 2008: RMNP Again? Seeking the Edge of my Randomness

*peers around* ... don't see it yet. Still looking.

Yesterday I visited the Rocky Mountain National Park again, after spending all day Saturday there. It was my original intention to spend the day at the Scottish/Irish Festival in Estes Park, but couldn't find anyone to go with me. I headed up, figuring that perhaps once I arrived I would feel fine with the idea of exploring the festival on my own. No such luck. I drove around the town of Estes Park a bit, hoping that the urge would strike me to park and wander around town solo - again, no such luck. I have such a difficult time with the prospect of walking around alone in a group of people, and I can't figure out exactly what my hangup is or how to get over it. It's getting to the point where it's making me really sad, because I miss being able to do fun things like go to festivals or walk down a busy city street with another person.

The one place I did feel motivated to stop was a giant rock store! It was a little piece of my own personal heaven on earth: bins after bins of pieces of rocks, ranging from petrified wood to jasper, agates to sodalite, aventurine to calcites to everything in between. I bought a fairly sizable piece of obsidian as well as a Himalayan Salt Lamp, and have both sitting on top of my TV in the middle of my living room. Obsidian is a strong stone that absorbs negative energy and protects sensitive people from depression. The Salt Lamp is composed of a large piece of peach-colored salt rock with a light bulb inside. The light bulb heats up the salt, sending negative ions into the air. It is supposed to neutralize the effects of radiation from various electronic devices. It's interesting how sometimes little changes can make such a big difference. With both of those pieces sitting on top of my TV, my whole living room suddenly feels dynamic and safe. Though it always feels good to walk into my house, now it feels reeeeally good.

So, I spent my happy time shopping around, touching rocks to my heart's content. The obsidian felt warm and wonderful and I didn't want to put it down to drive, so I nestled it between my knees as I headed up into the mountains for the second time in 24 hours.

I had never entered the park from the Estes Park side, and the view of the mountains looming before me was incredible. I noticed that one peak had a light dusting of snow on it, like confectioner's sugar over some delicious forbidden dessert.There is a one-way road that only goes up and can only be accessed from the Estes Park side of the park. I figured, why not give it a try? The little dirt road was only slightly wider than my car, with trees hedging me in on one side, and a sharp fall down a rocky slope greeting me on the other. The sharp bends had to be navigated at a speed of about 2 miles per hour, both to avoid spinning over the dusty surface and to steer one's self out of the massive tire ruts that decorated every corner.

The view was fantastic, with some unique rock formations that I didn't see on my other trips.The most amazing part of the drive was the massive valley that was clearly visible through the mountains. As I climbed higher up the road, I noticed a large piece of a mountainside missing, and wondered if perhaps a long time ago that piece was filled by a glacier. I imagined that the melting glacier carved through those massive, uncompromising rocks, the ground falling away without warning as they finally succumbed to the force of the water. I have no idea if it happened this way, but the picture seemed clear as day in my head as I was driving. In my head I saw a woman trying to navigate her way across the water, attempting to avoid any unstable rocks that might give way beneath her and send her plummeting into the frigid glacial water. The rest of my drive was beautiful, though my mind was unsettled with feelings of frustration and attempts to work out my difficulty with crowds of people. I stopped in Grand Lake for lunch around 4pm, but didn't feel like heading back home just yet. I took off toward Kremmling, a little town for which I have an inexplicable affinity. There are some neat sandy-looking cliffs that serve as a dramatic backdrop to the small town. (I have probably posted a picture of these, but I like them so here they are. :) ).I wanted to keep driving, keep moving, keep filling myself with music and thoughts and the beautiful moving pictures of the world outside my windows. I wanted to drive up to Craig and down to Meeker, a tiny town on the western slopes where I was offered my first internship position (then turned it down when I learned how far Meeker is from Denver. Go go Mapquest ninja!). I wanted to end up in Salt Lake City, or Dinosaur, or Marble, or a hundred other places I have yet to visit, but in the end logic and time won out.

I settled on taking a small detour before exiting the wilderness to join the I-70 slalom event. Alongside the road, in the middle of a cow pasture, was this random massive rock.There were no fences for most of the stretch of road, but the cows seemed pretty content to stay in their fields. I drove through the Routt National Forest, and from the highest points could catch glimpses of an area my map called the "Flat Tops". I am guessing I saw them because they looked like a giant mesa, with sharply rising sides, then abruptly ending in a very large flat area on the top - almost like mountains with 3/4 of themselves lopped off.

I desperately wanted to continue my drive west and explore this area, but I knew the sun would be setting soon and didn't look forward to a 3 or 4 hour drive home on the highway in the dark. I turned south and traveled a road I'd traveled once before, during my trip to Glenwood Springs this past winter. This time, the road looked completely different. During my previous trip the weather was cloudy and it was lightly snowing, covering the plant life and the beautiful colors of the land around me. Yesterday, the bright sunshine showed off the landscape to its fullest: bright red ridges of rocks covered by twisted knotty pine trees, unbroken bands of yellow flowers streaking their way across the meadows, and the bright blue-gray Colorado River flowing like glass beside me. As I traveled closer and closer to I-70, the colors of the land fell away with Colorado's typical dramatic flair, ensuring that my attention would be fixed on the massive mountain peaks that were presented to me.Shortly after this picture I joined the eastern flow of I-70 which, despite its being a major highway, does present some very amazing views of its own. I sat with the obsidian still resting between my knees, thinking about some things in myself that need to be worked through; right now for me these thoughts are primarily revolving around my relationships with other people. Last weekend (wow, that was last weekend already?) when I was read by the dowser, she told me that I should be working to improve myself right now so that when the right guy comes along, I'll be ready for him. I knew this and felt it, but fought it because being alone gets boring sometimes, and I miss having someone around to give me big hugs. :) I guess boring isn't the right word, but it's just sort of the same, just me and my head. One very interesting thing about life is getting to know someone else's head, and the conversations and debates that are sparked by our thoughts and feelings meeting. So my next step is friends, and one of my roads to that end are belly dance and yoga classes! I should go tomorrow after work and sign up for them.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sat, Sept 6, 2008: Non-Camping Adventures! Grand Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park

I was supposed to go camping this weekend with a group of friends, but one couple has a 6 month old baby and thought it would probably be too cold for him this weekend. I'm kinda glad... keeping myself warm through a 28 degree night doesn't really sound all that fun. I told the couple with the baby that I would just borrow their dogs (who, last camping trip, woke up throughout the night demanding to be let out). They didn't seem to mind much, though my insistence on canine company never amounted to anything with our trip being canceled.

We decided to spend the day together anyways, since we'd been looking forward to a weekend away and everyone's company. We headed up to Rocky Mountain National Forest via Grand Lake, and stopped by the lake for a picnic lunch.The group was composed of 2 couples, one 6 month old, and yours truly. I love this group of friends, not only because they are wonderful people, but they never make me feel like a 3rd (or 5th or 7th...) wheel. We are sort of hilarious together because nobody in the group is the designated decision maker. We took 2 cars up, and the other driver and I kept tricking each other into taking the lead so each of us didn't have to make any decisions.

Eventually, we did decide to visit a place along the road which used to be a little town. (I just tried looking it up but can't seem to find it on any maps. I know it's on my official map, but that's all the way out in my car!). It was a short hike across a field and a little stream to the town, and the land was beautiful.
There were some neat old furrow digging machines which I had to pose on, of course.It was great to get out and take a hike, even if it was just a short one. Besides, I'm still not sure I could handle a longer one! The thing that was even better was being surrounded by a group of fun, intelligent, and nice people. I'm so used to spending time alone and exploring things solo that it felt strange to have people to talk to, but it was really wonderful being around people whose company I enjoy.

We went up and up and left tree line behind as the road wound up through the alpine tundra. At one point we pulled over and two of the group ran off across a meadow with their cameras. I figured something cool was going on and chased after them, but they just kept running.... Panting, I finally caught up and asked why the heck we were running across a random rocky meadow. They laughed at me for following them when I had no idea where they were going, and my friend explained that there was an elk herd nearby. Sure enough, they came into sight as we reached the edge of a little bowl in the mountain.

Shortly after, we reached a short hiking trail; the guys and I went on a walk while the other girls stayed in the car and napped. I passed these rock formations last time I drove through the park and they reminded me of Weathertop in Lord of the Rings. The resemblance didn't diminish much as we approached the various groups of rocks strewn around the mountain top.

In this picture, you can see a lake to the right of the rock formation, on the mountain in the background.These formations are called the Mushroom Rocks. The darker rock on top is formed by sand and silt, and the light granite on the bottom was formed by volcanoes. When I showed this picture to one of the women who stayed behind in the car, she remarked, "wow, this place used to be interesting?" which cracked me up. In the foreground you can also see some of the tundra plants. They were so interesting: little feathery red ferns, tufts of green grasses, hollow delicate white trumpet flowers, and lichens in abundance covering the rock surfaces.And, my trademark "one last mountain view".Everyone was getting pretty lazy by this point, so we continued our drive across the park and stopped for our dinner picnic. Everything was peaceful and soft, except for the temperature which I would have turned up another 10-20 degrees if I could. We managed to avoid turning into human popsicles with our warm chicken fajitas and hot chocolate. I love camping with these guys! (this was supposed to be our camping food for the weekend).

On our way out, we crossed a place I believe is called Beaver Meadow, and it was covered by the shadows of grazing elk. Apparently this is elk mating season, and as we drove by we remarked how disappointing it was not to see any elk mating. We were hoping to hear some of their mating calls at least, but didn't experience that either. It was still awe-inspiring, though, to drive down a street lined by park rangers, signaling us to slow down as the elk carried on their business as if the line of traffic crossing through their herd didn't exist. It's always nice when nature puts you into perspective for yourself.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mon, Sept 1, 2008: Revisiting Rt. 14 and Walden

Yesterday I wanted to head out somewhere beautiful before going to a friend's house for a bbq, in celebration of the fact that I am no longer broke! I was yearning to head up into Wyoming, but put that trip on hold for a day with no time constraints and instead decided to travel Rt. 14 to Walden.

I love the lush green hills that sprawl from the edges of Ft. Collins and melt into the foothills of the Rockies.I have shared my impressions of this road on previous road trips, but I have never shared Poudre Falls! The river flows into a series of rushing cascades, then is further compressed through a narrow rocky crevice. This particular section of the waterfall has worn away a lot of the rock below it, and the water made a beautiful rushing sound as it gushed through its narrow passage. The river, which was strong and wide near Ft. Collins, dwindled until it became little more than a stream as I rose to the mountain plains near Walden. A rain storm was rolling in, and the light became beautiful and soft as it filtered through patches of thick clouds.

I think that I've driven through this area 3 times since my arrival last year, and every time I am fascinated by the unique shape of this mountain group.The road took me into a state forest, the place where I saw so many pine trees devastated by pine beetles on my trip through the area last year. The trees, when last I saw them, were a burnt orange color due to their dead needles. Yesterday it looked as though most of them had lost their needles, leaving gray bare stems pointing starkly at the sky.Even the forest, which used to look mostly green with highlights of orange, has faded to a dull gray.As I emerged from the forest I was joined by another small stream, which I decided I wanted to visit. I took off my sandals and slid down a sandy slope to the edge of the water, a little avalanche of sand and pebbles in my wake. I perched myself next to a little carpet of moss and grass tufts, smiling at the thought of fairies nestled among the greenery.
Soothed by the peaceful sound of the water and the cool, smooth rock beneath me, I headed off once again until I saw a small stand of aspen trees. I think this is the first picture I've taken of an aspen in which I managed to come somewhat close to estimating how beautiful the light is as it shines through their shimmering leaves.
The countryside opened again as I approached Granby, as did the clouds, giving me a beautiful view of the bright, green countryside around me (which this picture doesn't adequately capture).I've been unable to take road trips for so long now due to financial distress that it felt just as liberating driving over the mountains and plains yesterday as it did the day of my arrival.

When I joined the dating website I have been on since last month, I did it knowing that in my gut I felt that I should be concentrating on making friends and strengthening some things inside of myself. I ignored this and got caught up in the idea of having what I want right now. I guess I felt like I could trick the universe into giving me what I wanted, because I want so badly to find the person with whom I will spend my life. Of course the universe won as it always does, and I have lately reminded myself of the things that I should be concentrating on: my insides, my outsides, and doing my best to start feeling as connected to the people of this state as I do the land. I need to keep reminding myself of how good it feels to surrender to the universe instead of fighting it. Each time I think about it, it seems really scary; when I actually do it, it feels wonderful.