As creative as I can be, I (as well as humankind overall) have yet to find a way to make time. Therefore, time is the valuable resource that we have been given that affords us the opportunities to prioritize how we spend it. Admittedly, as much as I tell myself that I use my time in ways that provide personal growth, statistically I have spent the majority of my life in school, at work, or in bed. The rest of the time has been filled with creating moments; sometimes exciting, sometimes fulfilling, but at times quite lackluster. If I am to over program myself, I move from event to event scheduled in my life without time to decompress. However, I also have recognized that I choose not to spend the entire amount of free time I have away from work sitting in front of a television. But, there is a balance that I straddle each week as I look at what’s ahead and reflect upon what I have accomplished the week prior.
How much closer have I come to reaching my goals or refocusing what it is that I tunnel onto?
Amidst the chaos of always running through life and schedule, I have been fortunate to book travel that includes both researched and scheduled locations as well as prepared down time and freedom to roam, which is to reflect on the beauty of the world around me. What rings true for me is that in the constant movement pattern both mentally and physically, I tend to get blinded as it applies to seeing the good around me. I work in a risk management industry, so I tend to focus on what can go wrong to try to prevent that before it does.
I haven’t quite crunched the numbers, but I think there are far more “things happening” than I can take credit for troubleshooting. But, if I am humble, at least I can calm the ego enough to recognize my role in the pattern.
All of the above leads us to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. I am a staunch supporter of The National Parks System and recommend that if you have an opportunity to visit any of their Parks that you do so. They are chock full of information as well as scenery that is preserved by it’s unincorporated protection. National Parks provide a small glimpse into what the land that we built on looked like and one day may return to long after we are gone. They are worth your time and have been prepared for your enjoyment.
I breathe deep in the thin, crisp and dry air that Colorado yields, a far cry from the humid and thick composition that I find in sea level Houston. The altitude doesn’t have an effect on me, however, the vehicle I rented which sits higher than the one I drive at home as well as having a longer frame and different slowing/stopping distances does. Houston is notorious for traffic, but is a flat concrete jungle. Colorado and the section travelled to reach the Rocky Mountain National Forest has fewer cars but elevation changes and at times, tight curves that I take some time to adapt to. It’s gorgeous to see white capped mountain ranges in the distance as you travel the speed limit, despite opposition from locals who are more confident taking the curves faster than advised. I am sure that as I became more familiar, I would be tempted to do the same, but since I was purposefully avoiding rolling the beautiful white 4 door Jeep Wrangler that I nicknamed “Vanilla Ice” on this trip, it wasn’t in the cards for me.
I safely pulled over from the two lane highway on the way to the Park for what I probably told myself was a stretch break, but may have also been to capture some shots and decompress from white knuckling the steering wheel with the tunes “Ice, Ice Baby” and “Ninja Rap” rattling off in my head. This specific section has extensions for passing lanes as well as emergency braking turn offs for vehicles that cannot stop in time during the icy winter months. As I pull my DSLR and monopod from the back seat, I check both ways before crossing the road and capture the empty highway scene I saw on the way out. I check the highway and return to the car, a little more relaxed than before and continue on to the Park. A few other stops on this trip have taken longer than expected, but I wanted to capture this location without the rain that was soon to plague Denver proper. As the vehicle pulled up to the Park’s entrance, I was able to take in the same thin, crisp air that doesn’t feel oppressive against your lungs the way that humidity frames Houston’s. There was time to appreciate the well rooted and sturdy pine trees, established over the years at the park. They stand stories tall above your head and sway with the wind at their top, though the thick barked trunks lay still as if two very different sections of a body; the peaks being a nervous foot, the lower trunk a resting shoulder.
I thought about using the song “America The Beautiful” by Ray Charles that I referenced in last week’s post about fireworks. But what I felt was a more appropriate selection is Joe Cocker‘s “You are So Beautiful”. There is something about a person finding peace. They carry themselves differently, noticeably more relaxed. That peace doesn’t always have to be found in nature, but almost certainly requires me disconnecting for awhile. Ignoring the emails and calls for a specific period of time. Prioritizing a re-centering of myself. Pulling off the race of a highway to set my feet on the ground and take a small walk. That is how I know that I have been able to reclaim seeing the beauty in the world around me. Sometimes it’s in identifying the smallest of details, sometimes it’s broadly seeing the forest from the trees. Either way, it takes stepping outside of myself to consider what is greater and more expansive than I could solely create.
Alright; Stop, Collaborate and Listen…