Thursday, July 30, 2009

Notes From New Mexico - Day Eleven

Day eleven of my vacation was wrought with bitter-sweet thoughts that I would soon have to come back to the reality of grant deadlines, laundry, and bills, but also great reunions with family and friends and the comfort of familiarity.

There's something about the magnificence of nature that can shake your soul and bring you to your knees in gratitude for the blessings in your life. As I drove the "back way" from Salida, Colorado to Aspen, a breath-taking, climb over the continental divide, I had alternating feelings of wishing that everyone I loved (several bus-loads) were with me to witness this indescribable beauty, and thinking that if I plunged over the side of this entirely too narrow road, the tons of money I'd thrown at my life-insurance policy would finally pay off.

I am a fearless driver, but I was a little nervous that I would drive off into the abyss, gawking at some mind-boggling work of nature, and nearly did on a couple of sobering occasions. Sheer drops, 10-foot wide roads, hairpin turns and way too much beauty to miss would dictate a designated driver and a passenger blitzed on intoxicating views, but I made it to Aspen only to be horrified by a giant mall not cleverly disguised as a quaint little village.

I burst from the euphoria of flora and fauna into a scene of traffic, parking-rage, frenetic shopping, and shoulder-to-shoulder petite blonds carrying Louis Vuitton bags. I was in tourist hell and couldn't get out of there fast enough. I lucked into a parking spot, as others trolling for parking glared at me. I then asked the first person I saw, "Cheap souvenir t-shirts! Where?" The disgusted trustifarian, who was working hard to look poor in his torn jeans and scruffy beard, pointed across the street. I ran to purchase "Aspen" shirts for the fam, in the fastest shopping spree in history, as if I were in a city infected with a horrible contagious disease and I had to hold my breath and get out quick.

Safely ensconced again in my car, I raced back to the forest praying that I hadn't stayed long enough in Aspen to kill the naturalists buzz I'd acquired on the trek to that den of "equity." I hadn't - the time-machine of the mountain road almost instantly made me feel millions of years away from the horror of Aspen. I now feel so silly for having bought the souvenir t-shirts, and briefly considered adding, "Hated it!" to each one with a Sharpie. Oh well, just part of life's adventures.

Onward through the fog...



  1. Loving your vacation while sitting here sweating in Austin!


  2. enjoyed being on your vacation with you--I think that at heart your still that country girl that I know and love. Linda Sue