Occasionally, it occurs that a day is experienced so fully, that it seems more than a day—but rather more like three that are condensed by alchemy. The moments weave tightly and seamlessly, full of wonder and excitement, with variation. The mind is exploring while the spirit soaring. I have felt this magic before and it is usually during travel.
Yesterday was such a day. Heidi Of The Mountains and I had drove north into Colorado for a four day sojourn and ended up in Crested Butte, a gem of an outdoorsy town situated in a broad, lush valley surrounded by pristine mountains. In winter it is renowned for skiing, and in summer known as the wildflower capital of Colorado.
To begin the day, we left our condominium apartment and headed to an organic bakery for quiche and coffee. The place bustled with patrons, yet we found a quiet table by a window where we leisurely ate. Then we drove along a river that goes into the mountains. Following the curving path, we found an overlook that revealed the river below and mountains up the valley in the distance. For the next two and half hours we created, making oil paintings while standing in wildflower strewn surroundings with the sun on us and occasional fly bites. Our artwork complete, we clambered down the slope to lay by the cold flowing river on a pebble strewn bank, and let our feet get wet. A beaver dam was only step away. I remembered a spiritual verse: “Cleanse the rheum from out thine head, and breathe the breath of God instead.”
Riding back toward town, the condo-hotel is by the ski area, just a couple miles from the town center. We took our paintings to our room for a review, then napped. Soon, Heidi wanted to shop so we drove a couple miles to where the main street is lined with eclectic shops and restaurants. We walked and I held the dog, Gracie, while she went into boutiques and bought clothing. Plant baskets filled to overflowing with blooming flowers were hung everywhere, and profusions of poppies bloomed along the clapboard house fronts. I snapped pictures.
When the shopping was done, we headed farther up, into the mountains toward a lake, where we parked our car and hiked on a trail up into the primitive and pure alpine terrain. The late afternoon light gave more drama to the breathtaking scenery. We climbed steadily higher, with the landscape becoming more wild and free with each step. To wander off the path was to step into flowers. Although at a high elevation on steep terrain, I commented to Heidi that I felt perfect, without fatigue. The beauty was like an aphrodisiac and remedy. Standing up to my chest in a thick glade of leafy flowers, I felt like a child again in a magical realm of wonderment. I composed pictures and took photos—some will become paintings in the future.
We turned back and found our car, then headed into town. It is the peak season for visitors, and every cafe was packed. Everyone seemed ebullient, as if just back from exciting adventure; either mountain biking, hiking, fishing, or camping. Our dinner was in a retro establishment called BONEZ, serving a Colorado style Mexican cuisine. Over a big community table in the middle of the cavernous main room hung hundreds of empty white glass bottles, illumined with electric bulbs.
Sunburned, relaxed and happy, we returned to our room, opening our books to read before sleep.