Five Things I Love About ... the Mountains:
I love living in the mountains. I have always lived in the mountains; or at least in their foothills when I lived on the Front Range in Denver and Fort Collins. I could always see the mountains, even then.
I love the fresh air in the mountains. The mountian air is always charged with purifying negative ions; from the winds swooping down the valleys and crashing against the granite peaks; from thunder and lightning that flashes and booms from the afternoon's gathering clouds even without ever raining. It is clean, crisp, fresh and yes, very thin; and for some people it is almost impossible to breathe the mountain air.
I love the unpredictable, even confounding, weather of the mountains. I have been snowed on every month of the year in the mountains. At one time or another I have been snowed-in at least once in every month of the year except for July. I am sure if I continue to live in the mountains, that some day, in some future July, I will get snowed-in. I have seen it snowing, yet there be not a cloud in the sky; and I have seen it rain, then hail, then snow, and then the clouds break into brilliant sunshine all in a matter of a few passing moments.
I love the fresh, clean and clear, sparkling crystal water that runs swifty down the steep walled canyons that crease the mountains. The mountain water is cold; so cold it numbs your lips when you bend down and touch them to a stream in hopes of slaking your thirst on a hike. In those frigid waters live the most beautiful and succulent trout of all, the cutthroat, with a blood scarlet chevron painted just under their maw. If you are skillful enough, or lucky enough, to trick one into biting the fly you have carefully tied to the thinnest of line, they will try their damnedest to pull you in the icy waters with them.
I love the forests and woodlands that blanket the slopes of the mountains. Forests filled with pine and spruce and fir, ever green throughout the year. I love the meadows, filled with wildflowers, they are the landings of the mountain staircase as it climbs to the sky. Places where the streams slow and meander with thickets of willows in the crooks of their bends. I love the gentle slopes covered in glades of aspen, always quaking in even the slightest breeze. The forests shelter the animals - bears, coyotes, wolves, the deer and elk, beavers that dam the streams along with otters who slide on their bellies into the pools and eddies. And on the rocky crags above mountain goats and sheep, rams with twist and a half horns teetering on precipices looking over their realm.
And I love this song ...
"O beautiful for spaceous skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain..."
Katharine Lee Bates poem, later set to music, came together while she was atop one of Colorado's most famous 14'ers - Pikes Peak - on the 4th of July.
Note: There are 54 peaks over 14,000 ft high in Colorado, 70% of the land mass above 10,000 ft in the continental U.S. is in Colorado, making it the highest average altitude state in the union.
Yes, I do love my mountains.
This is written for a friend and her Five Things Group give the group a peak..er..peek.