An ode to living and embracing life in Colorado
That quiet days are not a barren waste;
Though one lies still, the heart
and mind can grow.
– Mildred T. Mey
I remember the first time I skied at Keystone in 1970, 33 years ago. I had just moved to Colorado from New York City.
I had just left the New York City Police Department to work for the Lakewood Department of Public Safety.
I had just discovered Colorado and Summit County for the very first time.
It was my secret and I was not sure I wanted to share it with anyone.
Riding the lift from the Mountain House up Keystone Mountain was one of the most glorious experiences of my life.
I remember the sound of the creaking of the chairlift. I remember the sound of the wind blowing through the tops of the trees. I remember the song they sang as I traveled up the mountain. It was the sound of quiet. It was a sound that was almost the absence of sound.
I found out later that the sound was there all the time. Everywhere in the forest I could hear that same sound of the wind blowing through the trees.
I could walk into the forest anywhere and hear the trees talking. I could hear them speaking if I stopped long enough to listen.
I could sit on a rock about this time of the year and hear the trees above me and the ground below me. I could hear the rustling of the fallen leaves as the wind blew across the trail.
Everywhere you look in Summit County you can see the forest but you can’t hear it. It is almost as if you are forced to get out of your house or your car and actually surround yourself with the forest to hear the forest.
I sometimes pity the poor people who drive through Summit County and the White River National Forest without getting out of their cars to feel and hear the trees.
I think of the people from my native Iowa not knowing the experience of the forest. Iowa is a rich, natural land with an abundance of vegetation and wildlife habitat, but it is not the same as Summit County.
Many of the river bottoms are covered with trees and low bushes, but it is not the same. The soil is rich and black like nowhere else in this world, but it is not the same.
I can never remember listening to the land in Iowa. I remember feeling the land but it is virtually soundless.
Iowa is probably the greatest place in the world to grow up but Colorado is the best place in the world to grow old. There is nothing like it.
New York City is probably the most alive, most vibrant and most interesting place in the world. Being a New York City police officer was, if nothing else, exciting. But New York City is nothing compared to living in the mountains in Colorado.
I do remember hearing New York City. It was loud, rude and uninviting. I guess that was part of its character – its life. But it was not warm and friendly.
The forest is warm and friendly. It is a place that welcomes you to spend time enjoying it. Enjoying the forest and its quiet nature.
A weather front was moving through the county on Monday afternoon.
The cottonwoods on the Summit County Courthouse lawn were blowing in the wind and I could hear the dry leaves rattling in the breeze.
I noticed people were responding to the wind and the change. I think the trees were telling us to be ready for a change. Ready for snow and the winter once again. It was almost as if the forest had come into town to tell us something.
It is so quiet in the forest that you can actually hear the trees talking. It is in the quiet times that my heart and mind grow.
When he’s not outside getting in touch with nature and uniting with the
Universe, Gary Lindstrom writes a
Thursday column for the Summit Daily News where, in a sense, the trees help tell his stories. He can be reached at
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