If I were to live in a greenhouse, I would have fresh flowers in my home every day.
Guests would enter through my weathered — but still entirely proper — yellow-painted front door, and be greeted by such an abundance of greenery that they would be happily taken aback.
I would offer them honey-sweetened dandelion tea, and show off my still-developing coffee plant, explaining it would be at least five years before there were any beans of which to speak. We would agree that coffee is almost always preferable, but that the dandelion tea was still quite nice.
It took two-and-a-half hours, but we finally escaped Glendo State Park.
We had driven along these same roads not 12 hours earlier, at 4:30 a.m., heading in the opposite direction. Surrounded by many other enterprising souls, we had crawled along the unfamiliar dirt road, the deep darkness of the pre-sunrise night enveloping us all, making the journey eerie. Somehow even forbidden. If I hadn’t myself just handed over our paltry park entrance fee to the booth attendant, and didn’t at that moment still clutch the park-issued map in hand, I would think we were trespassing into territory uncharted. With all of our ghostly headlights reflecting back on us in the dust-ridden air, a continuous line of family vehicles tentatively picking their ways along, I could almost be convinced that we had wandered into an adventure movie. Perhaps it was the apocalypse.
I had to go back into the archives for this one, my friends. Way back. One and one-half years back to be precise. I thought perhaps I had shared this before on my former photo blog, but it turns out I didn’t. Compelling narrative, no? I should probably write a memoir.
The weather is getting warmer and I swear that summer will be arriving soon. Despite the fact that snow has been falling all day long (no….stop….leave us alone…), I am certain we are within reach of those long summer days full of sandals, mountains, outdoor grilling and more. With all this summer longing positively driving my every waking thought, I decided to finally share this little adventure from September 2015, at the one and only Devil’s Thumb Ranch.
We arrived at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in the dead of night. The stars were bright in the exceptional darkness of nighttime in the mountains, and we rounded the last curvy road to pull up at the lodge, thankful to have arrived at long last following our late departure from Denver in Friday traffic.
We were there to celebrate Dan’s birthday, having won an overnight stay through a charity auction months prior. My dad frequently enjoys nordic skiing on the property, and I daresay I also have cross-country skied there myself once upon a time. But for all intents and purposes, this was my first visit to Devil’s Thumb Ranch. And Dan and I were ready to go all in.
This is what makes a place like DTR so great. If you simply start walking, straight from the back porch after breakfast, you have at your fingertips any number of trails and activities just waiting for you. Over the course of our brief visit there, we hiked (and got lost), rode horses through the mountains (and didn’t get lost), ate several amazing meals, and briefly considered crashing a wedding party. Oh, and I met a merry goat who I am certain most desired to start his own rock band.
We stood on an unassuming street in Atlanta, Georgia. The small, old-fashioned looking houses standing in neat rows across the street suggested modest living. Simple. A woman with a backpack walked out her front door a few homes up and sped down the way, seemingly not seeing anything that was around her as she peered ahead to her day and her tasks.
A car pulled up and parked across the street from where I stood. Five individuals jumped out and pointed their cell phones and small, point-and-shoot cameras in my direction. I quickly skirted down the concrete steps I stood upon, and out of their respective shots and selfies. After all, they weren’t there to see me in my travel-worn untidiness.
We were standing on the property of Martin Luther King Jr’s childhood home. The home where he was born. The home where he lived for the first 12 years of life. We were told it looked much the same as when he had resided there with his parents and his siblings. Similarly, the houses on the block that I had just been inspecting had also been preserved in that late-19th/early-20th century style. The ranger who led our tour said the intention had been to give visitors a sense of what young Martin himself would have seen growing up on that block.
It was a moving, and somehow otherworldly, thing to consider.
So…..October happened. As did the election. [insert whatever emotional response you need here. it’s a safe space. go ahead.] And now we are more than halfway through November and every day it gets closer and closer to being completely dark outside by 4:30 p.m. However, we are also less than one week away from Thanksgiving, so things are looking up.
Many words regarding the past 45 days our nation has weathered will be written in the months and years and decades ahead. I may well have some to share myself one day. But for now, here’s a little visual recap, perhaps a slightly poignant one, from our early October trip to Washington, D.C.