Stepping back provides a new view of Grand County
August 8, 2008
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ” T.S. Eliot
Walking around a running track for hours in the middle of the night can make one’s thoughts stray. So it was last Sunday morning that as I walked around the Middle Park High School track as part of the Relay for Life of Grand County, I began to count the luminaria lining the oval.
Almost 90 bags were spaced along the inside of the track in honor of those who fought cancer and survived or in remembrance of those who joined the one in four of us who, statistics say, will succumb to the dread disease.
The bag that touched me most was far from the most elaborate. Written in black marker it said, simply, “Missing Dad.”
Having lived in Grand County for slightly less than one year, I was surprised how many of the names I recognized of those who had passed in that short time.
I’m not sure why, but that made me walk faster, past the loudspeakers in the grandstands and through the swirl of moths and bugs flying in frenzied circles through the mercury haze of the stadium lights.
I noticed quite a few more luminaria in the stands and wondered what they had looked like when they were illuminated the previous evening. It wasn’t until my second or third lap that I turned and looked across from the other side of the track and noticed the luminaria in the stands spelled H-O-P-E.
Nice touch, I thought, as I continued my march. Then a thread began to twist into my sleep-deprived mind.
Though obvious enough, most of us rarely think as we go about our daily lives about how much our perception changes with the slightest shift in perspective.
From a few feet away, the luminaria appeared to be a random cluster of white paper bags stepping up the grandstands.
From 50 feet, they were a bold declaration that no, indeed, we shall not go gentle into that good night.
My mind began to flutter like one of those aimless moths in the light. I started thinking about perspective … perspective of distance … perspective of circumstance … perspective of time.
This thread drew me decades into the past, when two young men on a glorious adventure stood gazing in awe at the peaks of the Continental Divide stretching into the distance from just this side of Berthoud Pass.
It was certainly a different time and a vastly different perspective.
Winter Park, Fraser, Tabernash, Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs and Kremmling zipped by as we drove into the heart of a journey that would take us the now-unimaginable luxury of 12,000 miles coast-to-coast and back.
On the track, it suddenly occurred to me that when we crested Berthoud Pass all those years ago, it was the first time I had crossed the Continental Divide other than as a passenger at 35,000 feet. I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, though most times when I cross the pass and see that view I recall the moment, if only fleetingly.
I guess walking around the track at 2 a.m., I was finally far enough away ” in time and my mind ” to gain the perspective to see that moment for what it was.
Now here, engaged in a sometimes nearly microscopic examination of this community that is my new home, I intend to step back far enough occasionally to see it as it is, and perhaps even know it for the first time.
” Drew Munro is news editor at the Sky-Hi Daily News. He can be reached at 887-3334, ext. 19610 or email@example.com.
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